ATHENS, Ala. — Someone — vandal, elf or imp — has added a little holiday cheer to many of the deer-crossing signs posted in Limestone County: A small red reflector on the tip of the deer silhouette’s nose.
And if you ever saw one, you would even say it glows.
The culprit's identity is a Christmas mystery that has piqued the curiosity — and tickled the funny bones — of local residents.
City officials and law officers were surprised to learn of the mysterious sign modifications, and many responded to the news with a spontaneous but quickly stifled chuckle.
However, they had a serious answer to the question: Is turning a deer on a sign into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer a crime?
"You know, that right there is not something I ever thought I’d be asked about," said Athens Police Capt. Floyd Johnson, pointing out defacing a street sign is against the law.
Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said he didn't think the added red noses could pose a safety risk and he thought they were "pretty neat." He added: "However, you can't mess with the signs like that, or anything dealing with public safety so we’ll have to deal with them."
Whether the mystery is ever solved, one thing is sure: This is another case in which Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will go down in history.
Details for this story were provided by Kelly Kazek, a reporter for The News Courier in Athens, Ala.