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

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

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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.

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“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.

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