Street-Mending ‘Robin Hood’ Steals from City, Gives to Potholes

The one-man campaign in Jackson, Miss. has won national attention

  • Share
  • Read Later
Rick Guy / The Clarion-Ledger / AP

This pothole, labeled citizen fixed, sits at the intersection of St. Mary Street and Belmont Street NE and Peachtree Street in the Belhaven area of Jackson, Miss. Ron Chane, The Pothole Patchman, has roamed the streets of Jackson for weeks, filling in the crater-heavy roads with buckets of city asphalt.

In Michigan, where the roads are slightly better than driving through Moon craters, a coalition website implores Michiganders to contact their elected officials to fix the roads. In Jackson, Miss., where the streets are apparently in similarly bad shape, they have a guy who’s snatching asphalt from the city and filling the potholes himself.

(MORE: Chipotle Battles Burrito Fatigue with Freebies)

“Pothole Robin Hood,” as he’s been called in local news reports, got the police’s attention after admitting to absconding with asphalt from Jackson’s road-repair reserves, then using the material — made from oil and sand or gravel — to fill potholes plaguing the city’s streets. His goal? To fill 100 potholes, and according to 16 WAPT News. He just cleared that figure Monday night.

Speaking on-record to ABC News, street vigilante Ron Chane said: “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.”

With each filled pothole, Chane says he spray-paints a calling card: a white circle around the pothole with an arrow pointing to it beside the words “Citizen Fixed.”

The city’s response? While Jackson city major Chokwe Lumumba issued a statement expressing support for people making improvements to the community, he added that Jackson doesn’t permit “any use of the city’s resources without going through the proper legal channels.” Chane’s actions are currently under investigation by the local authorities, though no charges have been filed. Chane told ABC News he’s been approached by the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and that while they can’t condone his actions, they “were on the understanding side.”

Jackson’s official city website offers a basic submission tool to report potholes, asking citizens for their name, email, phone number and comments providing locational information about a trouble road spot.

MORE: Don’t Drink and Paddle: Venice Looks To Tame Unruly Gondoliers

37 comments
NickMordo
NickMordo

I've lived in Michigan all my life and been to various parts around the country. Nobody has it worse than we do, and I mean NOBODY. On any given day you might get a flat. It's so bad in Michigan that you can't tell apart the drunk drivers and those who weave just to avoid mammoth potholes.

IshmaleWhale
IshmaleWhale

If the city workers are unionized, and I am sure they are...They will be squealing like pigs as citizen repairs takes away from union work. Boy Scouts of America POd a union because they cleaned up a park for a community service project. Problem was the park workers were in a union.

SkippyRoss
SkippyRoss

An African mayor- what does one expect?

DonutWars
DonutWars

How about instead of just handing out welfare checks let the recipients fill the potholes.

IbcinguToo
IbcinguToo

Ohhhhh---COME ON.  Give the guy a break.  He's doing all of this work for the city FOR FREE, and those moorons can't even say --- THANK YOU??  ---- What the hell has this world become?

jstew182
jstew182

Please come to Houston, Pothole Robin Hood...

BugsWeta
BugsWeta

WHAT? How dare this man fill in those potholes?!! THAT'S A UNION JOB! Dig those potholes out immediately!!

allenwoll
allenwoll

.

In most instances, potholes are a complicated technical matter : They are there for a reason. . Just "filling them up" may not make the reason go away. . Even the simplest ones require attention to detail and proper preparation. 

.

This is NOT satire or sarcasm : I am serious !

.

RichC
RichC

When he is convicted and sentenced to do community service, I bet he ends up patching pot holes....

metoo
metoo

They'll spend all their time investigating and trying to figure out how to prosecute the guy for stealing supplies and making them look bad in the public's eye.

jc34031999
jc34031999

America is a dump and no one will fix anything. I'll give it 5 more years when America finally collapses. It was 10 years, but Congress has sped up the decline. What are you going to do?

solex675
solex675

The obvious question is that since the city obviously has the supplies, why are there hundreds of potholes needing to be fixed? You can only ride that "proper channels" donkey so far.

When the country was looking to get out of the depression, FDR was wise enough to hire men to do things like building the Hoover damn and then Eisenhower built the interstate system in the 1950s.

With so much infrastructure needing repair, do you not think it is time for this to happen again. Plenty of people looking for work and I for one think it is time to put stimulus money to work as opposed to bailing out banks and wall street.

GMoney
GMoney

The solution is simple. Change the legal process so that one can go to a depot that has the supplies available and fix the pothole. If the city can't get it done and people want to get it done, they should be allowed to do so with the support of the city - not an investigation into their actions.

Sonoro
Sonoro

Wow, don't let him see Richmond Ave. in Houston TX, he would never be able to leave.  The Moon has crater envy over that avenue.

chelita
chelita

Send him to New Orleans!!

Lara_in_Clover
Lara_in_Clover

Pretty sad that our roads (and our infrastructure) is crumbling all over America, and it's coming to this.  Think of all the jobs we could create if we determined to fix this stuff, instead of making more and more cuts.

rribs138
rribs138

Is this in Michigan or Mississippi?  The state changes from the beginning to the end.  

wadejlong
wadejlong

First off, your problem is that your mayor's name is Chokwe Lumumba and b) he allows resources to be spent to investigate this saint, in lieu of spending resources to take care of the city.  F city government.

roknsteve
roknsteve

I could fix a million potholes with all the baloney and hot air put out by city officials all over America.  

swagger
swagger

he could buy the stuff at home depot.

oldwhiteguy
oldwhiteguy

@IshmaleWhale Oh, yah. It's the unions' fault.  How about it's the fault of people who can afford car elevators, but ship their money overseas to avoid paying taxes?

oldwhiteguy
oldwhiteguy

@SkippyRoss Why don't you run for mayor, Skippy? Let's see how you do. Probably not any better at fixing the roads. And there'd be more trash to pick up.

WednesdayPunk
WednesdayPunk

@BugsWeta Very true, and in the amount of time the Mayor has spent making comments, and writing letters, his lazy bunch could have probably filled 500 potholes!!!!

WednesdayPunk
WednesdayPunk

@allenwoll Im sure there is some truth to this...Here is CA, we have street repair teams that come out, take 3-4 hours to fill a small pothole, after spending most of that time leaning on a  shovel or eating, and 2 days later after a few trucks have run over those same potholes, the asphalt has cracked, and chipped away, leaving the same hole that was there a few days before, but, now it has increased in size..Whatever degree these wonderful folks have was a huge waste of time, and money!

RubyLong
RubyLong

Sometimes. I used to work for CalTrans and filled many pot holes with no more than a hot tar stuff and asphalt tamped down with our truck tire.  Big ones may well need more complex handling, but a lot of the nasty little ones are just wear and tear - best filled so they don't grow. 

boguem
boguem

@allenwoll You may be, but have you ever wondered why potholes continually show up in the same places?  The city's apparently not doing any better a job than he will since they're never fixed permanently.

boguem
boguem

Is it really stealing if he's using the material for its intended purpose and just making the repairs before the city would have gotten to it in the first place.


Drooski
Drooski

@solex675 Because we are too busy spending our money blowing up 3rd world nations to properly educate our children, fix our infrastructure, or rebuild America.

MargaretH
MargaretH

@Sonoro..............HA!!! AIN'T IT THE TRUTH!!  Or Shepherd between 59& Allen Parkway or Fannin by Reliant stadium.

JohnTrent
JohnTrent

Remember 2 years ago when Obamy was yellin "Shovel Ready"? Well this is it and you don't hear nothin anymore except "We got no money honey" from the politicians

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

@rribs138 

the author lives in michigan. the guy fixing potholes live in mississippi. don't really see where the confusion is but i hope that helps

phrozenace1949
phrozenace1949

@wadejlong I'm not a Lumumba supporter, but he just took office 14 days ago. This guy was doing this long before.  Might wanna get some background knowledge before making racial-like statements

Lara_in_Clover
Lara_in_Clover

@swagger He could, but he'd have to spend a lot of his own money.  Maybe if people got together and chipped in, they could fund this project, but the citizens of that municpality, county, state and this country have already paid taxes for these services.  They shouldn't have to pay twice.

allenwoll
allenwoll

@WednesdayPunk @allenwoll 

I have had the same experiences many times, which is why I looked into the subject -- to supplement common sense ! . With that, I learned that recurrent potholes have a CAUSE -- which MUST be fixed. . The first failure of a small fix is usually caused by a careless fix -- NOT uncommon as you point out. . I have at times watched them do the fix and tried to estimate how soon it would fail -- "soon" hardly ever fails to win. . The right way actually is easy, but it never seems to occur to the S&H people, for some reason. . Was it Dagwood who said "Give me strength ?"

allenwoll
allenwoll

@boguem @allenwoll 

Yes, I have wondered -- and so I looked into the matter. . THAT is how I found out that they ARE a complicated technical matter. . They usually indicate a failure of the BASE of the street owing to the penetration of water from the top or from underlying sources -- a mere "filling in"" accomplishes little or nothing toward a lasting fix. . An experienced eye, as in most things, can see thru the matter and judge what to do for the long run.

BobRegan
BobRegan

@JohnTrentBe more precise John, the last sentence in you post should read "Well this is it and you don't hear nothin anymore except "We got no money honey" from the REPUBLICAN  politicians



boguem
boguem

@allenwoll @boguem My point exactly.  Apparently most cities don't hire anyone with an "experienced eye".