'Pothole Robin Hood' Steals Asphalt, Fixes Potholes

A Mississippi man fills potholes and leaves behind the message 'citizen fixed.'

ByABC News
July 10, 2013, 9:31 AM

July 11, 2013— -- A man dubbed the "pothole Robin Hood" is under police investigation for taking asphalt from the city of Jackson, Miss., and filling in potholes on city streets.

Ron Chane admits that he takes the asphalt and repairs potholes, and then signs the filled-in holes with the message "citizen fixed," he told ABC News.

"It's sort of like Robin Hood. Once we saw that people were appreciating what we did, we went out again and made a goal of fixing 100 potholes. We've actually filled 101 potholes, so our mission has been completed," Chane said.

"Jackson is like any other state capital, but we've got a big infrastructure problem," Chane said.

"It's hard to have a good city without good infrastructure," Chane added. "And our city simply does not have the budget."

The Jackson Police Department is looking into how Chane got the asphalt and has not yet made a decision about pressing charges.

"This is all still under investigation. We're just trying to get more information," Officer Colendula Greene told ABC News.

Chane says he is not committing a crime.

"We're not trying to be thieves, or steal from the city," Chane said. "We're just trying to put the asphalt to use."

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba responded to Chane's actions in a statement to ABC affiliate WAPT.

"We do not accept any use of the city's resources without going through the proper legal channels," the statement said.

The mayor's office did not return repeated requests for comment from ABC News.

Lumumba, who was elected mayor on July 1, included repairing and developing Jackson's streets in his platform, according to his campaign website.

"Hopefully our new mayor and his administration will be aggressive in addressing this problem," Chane said. "He's got a tough road ahead."

"We're sending a message that as citizens you have to sometimes take matters in your hands, in a creative and constructive way," Chane added.

Potholes are a disruptive and dangerous problem in Jackson.

"People joke that Jackson is a Six Flags because the roads are so bumpy," Zachary Boozer, a Jackson resident, told ABC News.

"The potholes are pretty widespread in all areas of the city. They make cracks in the streets, which are already crumbling," Boozer said.

"And it's not just potholes," Boozer continued. "We've also got sinkholes. People have been falling in them. A car fell in one too."

Jackson has a pothole hotline residents can call to report damaged roads.

"The problem is that they don't respond immediately," Boozer said. "After you call, they put you on a waitlist. The city is too backed up with requests to fix potholes. This is definitely raising tensions."

"I was approached by the Mississippi Department of Transportation," Chane said. "They said that while they do not condone or endorse what we did, they were indeed on the understanding side. They said the asphalt is the people's asphalt."

Jarrod Ravencraft, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, refutes this account.

"Nobody from the D.O.T. has spoken to Mr. Chane in an official capacity. We have never met with him. This situation is strictly an issue for Jackson. We have no jurisdiction over the city," Ravencraft said.