Accused ‘sign bandit’ frustrates residents and the City of Houston

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by Jeff McShan/ KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on June 26, 2013 at 12:42 AM

HOUSTON – City officials say a convicted felon turned personal trainer continues to illegally advertise his business all over the Houston area.

Joe Bronikowski, who once served time for robbery, refuses to obey Houston’s sign ordinance and continues to nail or tie his temporary advertisements to anything can find. The city outlaws what it calls “bandit signs.”

On Tuesday, Bronikowski’s signs were found up and down Westheimer near Dunvale, attached to Metro bus route poles, stop signs and a no parking sign.

The city says Bronikowski is one of its top offenders. Over the years he has been fined more than $70,000.

Houston Public Works Division says Bronikowski currently owes a little more than $6,000, but he has not been showing up for his court dates, which is also against the law.

Monday, while working on another story, KHOU 11 News reporter Jeff McShan witnessed Bronikowski putting up signs outside a west Houston Walmart store. McShan asked him if he remembered him from a previous report.

”I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bronikowski said.

The City of Houston’s Reginald Harris says his crew of about 20 employees have made real progress enforcing the sign rules. Two years ago his team took down 15,000 signs a month. Now they’re only finding about 8,000. The word is getting out that the signs are illegal and a nuisance to many.

However, stopping offenders like Joe Bronikowski has been tough. The city says he has given them bogus addresses.

“Yeah it’s pretty tough. A lot of times we try to call the numbers that are actually on the bandit signs. The individuals on the other end tend to play tricks. They use phones that are pre-paid phones. They use answering services to try and throw us off,” Harris said.

Bronikowski quickly walked away from our cameras Monday.

“Will you get out of my face man? Why don’t you get out there and bother some real criminals. I am a businessman” Bronikowski said.

A businessman the City of Houston is trying to find.

We just happened to see him in action Monday.

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