Muggles and wizards alike both know the evil Lord Voldemort as “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.” Judging by the latest controversy to rock the "Harry Potter" universe however, it is okay to scribble Voldemort’s name in black Sharpie.
The lines between fantasy and reality have been further blurred in recent days as the series' latest film, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” continues to set records at the box-office. Now, with Daniel Radcliffe being menaced on the big screen by the former Hogwart’s student-turned-dark-overlord, fans all over the world have begun defacing “Stop” signs with a message to Harry’s nemesis.
“Stop Voldemort” scream the signs, which have been spotted in the UK as well as here in the states. Using a magic marker, fans are scribbling their additions to the red traffic signs, frequently personalizing it further with a lightning bolt like the one on Harry’s forehead or other references to J.K. Rowling's popular books.
In Wauwatosa, Wisconsin -- about seven miles from Milwaukee -- police estimate that 50 to 75 stop signs have been vandalized with permanent marker throughout the city. According to Wauwatosa Police Department Specialist Paul Leist, the signs will likely need to be replaced at a cost of $80 each.
"Is it the crime of the century? No," Leist explained to the “Wauwatosa Now” website. "But the problem is it's starting to add up."
It sure is. Check out Facebook, video-sharing destinations or any number of blogs and you’ll find first-person accounts detailing “Stop Voldemort” escapades. Like Harry himself, the Wauwatosa police are striking back against evil: their Crime Stoppers hotline is offering a cash reward for tips that lead to an arrest in these crimes. Anyone with information is encouraged to call (414) 771-TOSA.
"You couldn't find a more important sign to vandalize. It's imperative people can read a stop sign," Leist said of the crimes, which were first noticed about a week ago. "Besides, we've got more important things to attend to."
Can't you über-fans think of any better way to show your support for "Harry Potter" and the boy wizard's quest to derail Voldemort's evil plans?