Prankster targets senior citizens with infestation warning

IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) — Three neighbors on the south side of Ironton have woken up to a bright pink sign on their doors, warning of a “Department of Health Infestation.”

They’re all senior citizens. But it’s not official and appears to be a prank.

Health officials are not laughing.

We showed Jackie Christian the notice. Despite a few insults like, “maybe if you took out the garbage once in a while, had a shower, brushed your teeth and stopped bringing home unwashed vagabonds we wouldn’t be forced to do this,” she thought it was real at first.

“I sure would. It’s not?”

Linda Gagai also thought it was genuine at first.

“Yeah, I did think it’s real,” she said.

Ironton health officials say three signs like this have popped up this week on the south side. Each one has prompted an anxious call to Health Commissioner Laura Brown.

“The health department would never word anything like this,” she said.

Some clues it’s a fake: wording like blaming the problem on unwashed vagabonds, along with no address, no date and no signature. Also, in the bottom corner, in smaller font which is easier to miss, G U R-SO DUM.

Compared to the real thing from the health department, they look nothing alike.

“I wish they would think before they do this because it upsets people,” Brown said.

Christian said she’s not surprised it seems senior citizens were targeted for the prank, like they’re targeted for scams.

“They do it every day,” she said. “My mom gets phone calls every day of people wanting money, money, money.”

Gagai and Brown hope three signs in four days is it.

“I hope this stuff stops,” Gagai said. “We have a great little town and we want to keep Ironton great. We don’t need stuff like this.”

The irony is that Brown tells us two of the properties targeted have well-maintained yards. The other is owned by someone who was so embarrassed he wouldn’t give his name or address.

Ironton police say depending on the circumstances, the prankster could face misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and trespassing.