The ‘Ripper’ explained

The Brooklyn Paper
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Leave “The Ripper” alone! That’s what the sister of the so-called “Park Slope Ripper” — the man who tears down people’s stoop sale, “Help Wanted” and “man with van” signs from neighborhood lampposts — is begging the people of Park Slope, some of whom are increasingly angry about the man’s neatnik vigilantism.

“The public needs to understand my brother, that he does this because he is autistic,” said the sister, who requested anonymity because there have been threats against her brother as he’s walked his flier-removal beat throughout Park Slope and nearby Prospect Heights.

The Brooklyn Paper got in touch with the woman after she responded to a story last week about the activities of the so-called “Ripper.” That story recounted that some people in the neighborhood are angry that he is pulling down signs, which are actually illegal, though others defended his activities as a public service.

She also posted a long letter on the Web site Brooklynian that asked her neighbors to “please leave him be.”

She signed it, “Concerned Sister 11215.”

In a subsequent interview with The Brooklyn Paper, the sister said her older brother’s sign-removal campaign started about five years ago and is directly related to his autism.

“He’s not doing this to be an a—hole or a killjoy or to inconvenience people,” she said. “It is something that his mind believes he absolutely must do. My mother often describes that he thinks of it as his job, his mission. He is compelled to do it.”

She said the family has long tried to get him to stop — mostly out fear that someone who has posted a sign will harm him — but he continues to keep his daily schedule of tidying the neighborhood.

“He has been confronted many times,” she said. “He gets upset and comes home and relates the incidents to my mother and to me. There’s a specific group of people from a moving company who have threatened him physically. But people have to understand that he is absolutely not violent and not a threat to anyone.”

The sister was angered by a widely distributed physical description of the man that suggested that he had a “weasly” face “that makes you immediately dislike him.”

“Some of the bloggers say he appears angry, but it’s really just social awkwardness,” she said. “The fact is that he has so much difficulty even interacting with people that he doesn’t even try anymore. People perceive his look as one of anger, but he is not dangerous!”

She also objected to the suggestion that some residents have become “Ripper hunters,” hoping to confront her brother and get him to stop tearing down local fliers. Others have said they want to punch out the man.

“You have no idea what it felt like to read that,” said the woman.

“He is an incredibly vulnerable person, not some monster to be hunted down. He has suffered his entire life. He has suffered enough.”

She and her husband, who works with autistic children, said they have tried to channel the man’s crusade into something with an official capacity, perhaps as a Park volunteer that could offer an element of protection, but their efforts have come to naught.

“The problem is that low self-esteem makes him reluctant to interact with people,” she said.

The good news is that sometimes people do offer encouragement, she said. But he’s ill-equipped to receive it.

“If you want to say, ‘Good job, keep it up,’ that’s great, and he may even manage a reply, but don’t expect to have a whole conversation with him,” she said.

Updated 5:08 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

A lifetime resident from Park Slope says:
Take a moment to read the sisters explanation over at the Gowanus Lounge website titled The Park Slope Flier Ripper Explained August 18th, 2008 ...

It is a plea for compassion and understanding. It is worth the time to read it through.

What he is doing is LEGAL and not hurting anyone
Those who want to post signs can do it on bulletin boards in cafes like Ozzies. Don't contribute to the litter and graffiti on the streets.

I think it's important to note that he apparently respects "Lost Pet Signs"
Aug. 21, 2008, 9:27 am
Pete from CobbleHill says:
I think he is providing a great service. And the shame is on the people who post all those flyers(illegally).
Aug. 23, 2008, 10:19 am
Kathleen Dillon from Park Slope says:
I'm glad to see that he leaves lost/found pet signs. I wish he could be taught to leave stoop sale signs alone too. I agree that there are plenty of places for "commercial" notices for tutoring, moving, etc. on various bulletin boards but, in my opinion, pet & stoop posters are a community service & contribute to the gemutlich of the neighborhood.
Aug. 23, 2008, 1:49 pm
Oren from Windsor Terrace says:
This encourages me to tear down flyers too, we should all start, so this guy doesn't get singled out.
It's all a form of illegal advertising, and those moving companies are very nasty about it, I've seen them.
Aug. 23, 2008, 9:11 pm
Bernette Rudolph from Park Slope says:
The ripper should leave signs...but the people who put them up should take them DOWN WHEN THE EVENT IS OVER.You put them up.YOU take them down.
Aug. 29, 2008, 6:30 am
vito from Park Slope says:
Couldn't the sister try and get him to pick up the dog crap instead. Talk about doing a service for the community.
Sept. 1, 2008, 6:50 pm
gary l. from park slope says:
he is the notorious park slope sign ripper,
iv’e seen him for years, the beady eyes mealy mouthed guy.
dressed like a freak and patrolling the slope for signs to rip down.
a troll like weasel man - claiming he is “empowered” by the
civic council (btw i spoke to one of their executives
and although they don’t condone his claim of
being empowered by the council, they like the nabe
clean of postings and sorta don’t mind his activities only his claim.
i have confronted and seen him confronted but to no avail.
he must have no life or brain, and probably needs help and
much t.l.c. as he has no rhyme or reason to his ripping activities.
i have tried to use triple reverse psychology and suggestive thought to try to get him to realize that the slope needs him to chill out!
sometimes my girlfriend and i yell out “rip.. rip.. rip..” or even run in front of him and rip an expired posting off the lamppost before he gets a chance, it really irks him (hopefully to think)
i guess it’s some revenge for some community postings of events and social activities i have posted and saw him rip down.
omg i’m becoming like him but on the other side of the equation…
by for now…
Sept. 9, 2008, 10:47 pm
Matt from Park Slope says:
Instead of your "triple reverse psychology and suggestive thought," try a little through the article and the references to the sister's plea and maybe you and your girlfriend will realize what "ass.. ass.. asses" you were being.
Sept. 11, 2008, 12:10 am
Terri from park slope says:
As an educator of kids with autism, i commend your brother for having found an outlet for his need to perfect the world as he sees it, or merly keep occupied. I am forever concerned withthe future for the kids I work with, not that thy're approaching young adults. How will the world accwept them, and they relate to the world. It can ve a scary an unkind place for most, let alone people with differences.
I promise to see your brother differently when I am walking down 7th or 5th. I hope others do too.

thanks for clarifying
Sept. 11, 2008, 8:31 am
sanchez from slope says:
I am sorry that he has autism, but does it really justify poor behavior that affect the communal feel of the neighborhood?
Sept. 11, 2008, 11:52 am

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