Hanging Effigies Rattle Vegas
Some drivers feared they were real people
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Aug 9, 2012 12:59 AM CDT
Updated Aug 9, 2012 5:00 AM CDT
Local police phone lines were flooded by drivers who feared this mannequin was a real person who had committed suicide.   (AP Photo/KVVU, Peter Dawson)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Two surprise billboards featuring hanging effigies nearly knocked Las Vegans off their game yesterday. Mannequins with nooses around their necks hung from both billboards, each on a major highway; they appeared to be some kind of jobless protest. "Dying for a job," said a hand-painted message on one billboard, while the other read: "Hope you're happy, Wall Street." Some drivers, fearing they were real bodies, phoned police. No one claimed responsibility for the signs, but Occupy Las Vegas quickly posted photos of the billboards on its website, calling it "street art," and noting that Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, "has the second highest rate of adult suicide in the country right now."

It's a "publicity stunt, obviously done in bad taste," said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jeremie Elliot. A spokeswoman for the ad agency that owns one of the billboards said it was "vandalism," and that it was being removed, reports AP. Clear Channel Outdoor, which owns the other billboard, was also dismantling the display. An executive said the company was working with law enforcement to track the effigy-hangers.