SGT Peterson and the Illegal Snipe Advertising

EDIT: As of 10/20/2012, the SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp signs have begun to reappear.

For the time being, it seems like this issue is resolved. Click here to see the current status of this issue. The below content is kept as a record of events.

A snipe sign, as defined by the Minneapolis, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances, is a sign of any material, including but not limited to paper, cardboard, wood or metal, attached to any object and having no application to the premises where located.

And, wouldn’t you know it? Snipe signs are prohibited, as stated in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances.

That’s right. All the ugly signs you see cluttering the roadside are illegal. Lose weight, work from home, singles in your area, we buy houses. It is all illegal adverting. Which brings us to SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp.

Hold on. Let’s tie this back to this site. I really hate snipe advertising. My co-workers will attest to this. I usually have to move all the signs I’ve yanked out of the ground or off of telephone poles when we take my van to lunch. So a while back I created Hey, I Found Your Sign, a website dedicated to helping these poor illegal advertisers know that someone found their illegal sign and it’s being taken care of.

Sometimes I call the numbers on the sign and tell them that I found their sign. We then have a wonderfully awkward and stilled conversation.

But SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp is special. You see, they are dumb enough to have a Twitter account. Instead of calling up the number on the sign, I simply let them know by Twitter that I had found their sign.

The following is my conversation with @sgtpetersons over the last two weeks.

aric: Hey @sgtpetersons. I found your sign. It was on Hennepin and Kenwood. I picked it up for you.

aric: Don’t worry, @sgtpetersons. I put it someplace safe.

aric: Hey @sgtpetersons! I didn’t pick up all of your illegally placed signs. So if you could be a dear and get the rest. Thanks so much!

SGTPetersons: @aric If you could let us know where we were putting them that we shouldn’t be they will definitely not go there anymore!

aric: Everywhere, @sgtpetersons. Snipe advertising is illegal in Minneapolis and most everywhere.

aric: Hey @sgtpetersons. You still have two illegal snipe signs up on Hennepin by the Walker. And, I would guess, more up around town.

SGTPetersons: @aric In an effort to support the local economy we pay gnomes living under the Hennepin Ave Bridge to help us advertise. Every week they toil tirelessly to make end’s meet by putting out our USDA approved, Biodegradeable, Non-polluting signs. We would be abhorred if it was thought to put these hard working little guys out of a job.

aric: So let me get this argument straight, @sgtpetersons. You’re saying illegal advertising is okay as long as you pay homeless people to do it?

Updated 05/02/2011
SGTPetersons: @aric who said anything about homeless people? Also we have heard nothing from the City of Minneapolis regarding these signs, We have a had a couple of suburbs ask us not to post them anymore and have willfully complied…

aric: Really, @sgtpetersons? Just because you don’t get caught running a stop sign doesn’t mean it isn’t illegal. Look at the Code of Ordinances. And I inferred from your absurd comments about paying “gnomes” under the Hennepin Ave bridge about the homeless.

SGTPetersons: @aric First time I’ve seen that ordinance, will read it. (links regarding ‘snipe signs’ earlier assuming that’s what they were.)

So not only did SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp admit they are putting up these signs, which they have been informed are illegal. They continue to do it, and seem to think that hiring the homeless to put up the signs evens things out.

Wait, they’re hiring homeless people? Are they paying minimum wage? Are they reporting it on their taxes? Are they paying for worker’s comp? (Edit 05/03/2011 This is what I inferred based on the Twitter conversation we had. Anyone else read that conversation differently?)

What originally started as a way to get SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp to take down their ugly signs seems to have uncovered a rather shady operation. I assumed they were simply unaware of the law. Now it seems that they are…well…actually jerks. Willfully littering the streets of our city with their garbage.

The next step? Aside from contacting the city of Minneapolis(check) is seeing if the real SGT Peterson is aware of all these shenanigans. After all, if you put your name on something you’re going to have to stand up for it or move to correct the wrongs it has done.

In the meantime, obviously don’t sign up for one of these boot camps and go ahead and pull up any snipe signs you see and throw them in the trash, where they belong.

Update 05/02/2001
For anyone looking to report snipe advertising in Minneapolis, here is the information I received from the city of Minneapolis:

You can report this issue by calling Minneapolis 311 at 311 or 612-673-3000 or by emailing a report to 311 at Please include location, description of the signs the name and contact info for the business that is being advertised etc.

Update 05/03/2011


SGTPetersons: @aric Actually didn’t know it was illegal everywhere before reading the Code of Ordinances. Sounds like we’ll stop putting signs up.

SGTPetersons: PS @aric You should really try a business before you slander & give us bad reviews. Let us know if you want to actually see what we’re about

aric: @sgtpetersons Thank you following the law. “Reviews” removed. Still think your Tweets made it sound like you hired homeless folks.

SGTPetersons: @aric Should’ve gone with ‘gremlins’ instead of ‘gnomes’… no that sounds the same…Still think you should give us a shot as a business

aric: @sgtpetersons Fair enough. I can find a time to give your intro workout a shot and keep an open mind.

Update 05/18/2011

It seems that Ed Kohler called the number on the Sgt. Peterson’s Boot Camp sign last year and inform the person on the other end that their advertising was illegal. So these “didn’t know it was illegal” claims are pretty questionable. Don’t think I’ll be giving their workout a shot.

aric: Turns out @edkohler told @sgtpetersons last year that snipe ads were illegal. This “actually didn’t know it was illegal” stuff was nonsense.

SGTPetersons: @aric enough of this. I don’t know who he told, but it never got to me. I’ve taken care of it by putting a stop to it. Thank you.

It’s really no use dealing directly with the company. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they aren’t putting up new signs. They still have their old signs littering the town.

If you see one, dial Minneapolis 311 at 612-673-3000 to report it or email your report to

Update 06/06/2011

This was posted yesterday on Facebook. What part of “illegal” doesn’t Tim Peterson understand?

Update 06/20/2011
It’s time to start a new thread for this topic. It’s moving away from “get SGT Peterson and SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp to realize what they’re doing” to “they know what they’re doing and they won’t stop.” Click here to continue on to the new blog post, with video!


  1. Wow! I love that you do this! I do a version of this, when us women are bombarded by those ‘we need 7 people who want to lose weight’ notes staring at us inside toilet compartments where we are at our most vulnerable, I throw not only that one but stay and destroy every other one in the room. I admire your extreme tactics – keep on carrying on!

    • That’s awesome, Pamela. I had no idea that these sorts of things advertisements existed inside of toilet stalls. Aside from “get ready for prom” in high school.

  2. It is good to see that ugly signs like that are being removed.
    Though I must admit you seem kinda humorless when it comes to gnome references.
    Keep up the good work.

  3. Jessica says

    I hope you do end up giving Sgt. Peterson’s a chance and go in for the intro workout. I’ve been a boot camp attendee for four months, and it’s a great place.

  4. There’s a different snipe ad at the entrance to my FT job in Woodbury. I checked Woodbury’s code of ordinances and it seems a bit muddy. If I get the go-ahead at work, I’ll remove it, take a pic of it in my trash and give you credit via Twitter.

    It’s only one ad, but I hope to do my lil’ part. Thanks for bringing this up.

  5. I called St Peterson last year after he spammed his signs on East Lake Street. I’m sure that I mentioned that it was illegal to do that in the City of Minneapolis. Acting as if you’re the first person to talk to him about this seems dishonest to me.

    • Jeez, good to know Ed. Just when you think everything is wrapped up in a nice little package.

      • Hahaha you post a lot. Do you sit on your ass on the computer? Go do something more meaningful, like work out.

  6. I cannot believe that you have put so much time, money and effort into this. Can you imagine what you could have done with all of that effort by volunteering. For some reason you would rather prevent a disabled American veteran from providing for his 4 children and wife. At least I know who has been stealing the signs. The last time I looked stealing is illegal, and the “Theft” may even be a high enough dollar amount to be a felony=)
    In all, it is not your job to enforce a law that children routinely break while setting up lemonade stands. Or one that every civil leader we have serving in office has broken to get elected.

    New flash, the police have to much on their hands catching drug dealers, rapist, murders etc. Please direct these efforts against these people.

    Thank you, and have a wonderful day!

    SGT Peterson –

    Motivated, dedicated, and can’t be stopped providing the world with more then just a workout!

    • I’m not quite sure what you’re arguing, SGT Peterson. I am not attacking you as a person. I am attacking these illegally placed SGT Peterson’s Boot Camp snipe advertising signs. And just because they are not coming alive and murdering people doesn’t make them any less illegal. These things are both illegal.

      And, because they are illegal, they are trash. It is like a Burger King hamburger wrapper being put on a stick for display at an intersection. Taking that out of the ground isn’t illegal. It is cleaning up litter.

      I appreciate any efforts you can take in keeping our city beautiful by not cluttering it with garbage.

    • FrankoGee says

      SGT Peterson, I pay taxes in this fine metropolis so I don’t have to see your shitty signs on the road. Pay for your advertising legitimately like any real hard working American businessman.

      It’s a shame you think cops need to waste their time enforcing laws you know you’re breaking. I commend Aric for adding a bit of community equilibrium against your illicit behavior.

      Aric is an American. He’s allowed to spend his time and money however he damn well pleases. If he wants to spend his freedom cleaning up those shitty illegal road signs to make his neighborhood a better place, he can act on it like an active citizen.

      And just to show I’m not a complete jackass, you understand you can use those signs legitimately if you only bother to ask the property holders for permission to display. I had an identical sign like yours in my yard for months to help promote my uncle’s business.

    • Ok Sgt Peterson, since you brought out the disabled vet, wife and kids card….

      You are not the only disabled vet out there. I’m one too. And somewhere way back in the day I’m pretty sure you swore an oath. Look it up. Breaking laws passed under the constitution you swore to protect is hardly defending it now is it?

      You are trade on the reputation of the uniform you are pictured wearing and the blood spilled . You’ve been caught lying twice now about being informed the signs were illegal. You continue to break the law. For all you might of done while in uniform considering how you are behaving now, you are a disgrace to the uniform you are wearing. Having worn the green is not an automatic pass on rules, laws, or ethical behavior.

      Now on to the wife and kids bit…

      So tell me there sarge, what part of being a good father is it when you show your kids it OK to lie, or break the law, especially for financial gain? It would be one thing if it was a protest in favor of civil rights, ethics and making a stand. But nope, it’s about dollars.

      But you are right the police have better things to do. Ordinance enforcement however lives for this. This sort of thing is a nice little money maker for the city. So every other time I spot your signs I’m calling in a complaint. The other times I’m removing the litter. Those plastic signs make wicked cool materials for projects with my kids. And I’ll show them how to look up laws and ordinances so they know that it is not stealing but in fact picking up litter when then take them.

      PS, I love that you include integrity in your core values. Apparently you can spell it but you can’t comprehend it.

  7. Sgt. Peterson, your military and/or physical status have nothing to do with your actions. Take some personal responsibility. Shooting the messenger is an embarrassing response to being called out on your littering.

    I think you should seriously consider pressing charges against Aric, me, or anyone else you can prove had been removing your litter. Perhaps that could bring this issue to a conclusion?

  8. I can’t believe this guy (and this company) keeps going. What a loser. It makes me want to run from his business as fast as I can.

    Also, the gnome reference would have been acknowledged, I am sure, if it’d been funny.

  9. These jerks just hit my NE MPLS neighborhood with their signs. The sign ordinance aside, wouldn’t this also fit under the littering/dumping laws?

  10. Chthonic20 says

    In San Antonio they are called Bandit Signs. An ordinance was needed to declare them to be litter and to allow citizens to remove them. The city conducts training classes for people who are interested in cleaning up their neighborhoods. Among other things they ask us to report campaign signs but to not remove them. (It is too sensitive an area they say.)

    I used to remove signs but I repeatedly became overly upset in a vigilante way. So for my own serenity I had to give it up.

  11. I am really proud that Aric isn’t letting up.

    It would be one thing if Aric had asked Sgt Peterson to stop, he had actually stopped & Aric continued to bug him. HOWEVER, Aric is just highlighting the fact that Sgt Peterson has not stopped and now is fully aware that what he is doing is illegal in the City of Minneapolis.

    As a Minneapolis resident, I’m really upset that a business owner thinks they can advertise on public property. He’s not running a garage sale. He hasn’t lost his dog. He is running a business and feels as though he doesn’t need to pay the people of Minneapolis to advertise on their property. It’s really unprofessional. And illegal.

    And while we’re talking about signs, let it be known that you can’t just place a campaign sign just anywhere. You have to have the property owners permission to place a campaign sign.

    What’s funny to me, in particular, is the fact that if he threatens legal action, he’ll have to admit he’s been illegally paying people to illegally place signs on public property. Good luck, guy.

  12. Wait a minute. We really don’t know if “Tim” has ever been in the military. Since he’s so easy with breaking the law, he probably lifted the picture from the web and made it all up.

    I’ve been ripping signs for years, although in cycles or bursts of annoyance. I particularly like to pull down the “I buy ugly houses” signs when they’re put 10 feet up on a tele. pole. I use my tree pruner extension stick for that.

  13. lol this guy peterson is a joke…. all these gym guys are a joke… if your so good at what you do why do you need to litter the neighborhoods with these signs……

  14. and he brings up the wife and kids then how come he has a gf out in san mateo california……… wife and kids yes your a man or morals…….

  15. oh will you just shut up people and get over all this b.s. who the heck cares about a goddamn sign?! Oh my god it’s in your yard, it’s the end of the world. Get over it. Mistakes happen, it’s not like sgt.petersons boot camp are continuously posting signs. Maybe you all should worry about the repeated rapes, murders, and assaults in Minneapolis/st.paul rather than some stupid signs.

    • Aric,

      Thank you for addressing this problem. Bob, thank you for adding your intelligence and experience.

      And Els.

      “oh will you shut up and get over this b.s.”

      You don’t want to have a dialogue? You don’t seem to understand:

      1. May people care about SGT Peterson’s disregard of the law (that is who the heck cares.)

      2. It isn’t a mistake. It is a deliberate aggressive litter. Mpls doesn’t need MORE garbage, or crappy advertising.

      3. SGT petersons boot camp IS CONTINUALLY POSTING signs. Let’s let the responsible party be responsible.

      4. Because someone has an issue with litter/illegal signage does NOT mean that they don’t care about murder, rape & the rest or the crime that is rampant in our fair city.

      5. Yes they are stupid signs. That is the problem! The problem that you just don’t seem to understand.

      6. You should just “shut up” instead of going on a blog and showing the world how ignorant you are, though by your language, grammar, and syntax I’d guess that Els is about 11 – 15 years old.

  16. Ps. I only found this because I was looking at a Groupon a& I wanted to read some reviews. Now I know that I should better spend my money elsewhere.

    Sgt. Peterson, married with kids AND a girlfriend?


  17. alster says

    Snipe signs are a great way to advertise, and can be wonderful for driving business. People who get worked up over them really have too much time on their hands. I really hope everyone who’s upset about the signs drives the speed limit on every road at all times, washes any recycling before it’s thrown in to the ‘blue’ can, never spits on any sidewalks, has never had a parking ticket or a speeding ticket, and has never, ever underpaid their income taxes for any reason, known or unknown — all of which are against the law. We live in a democracy, laws are created by and for the people. Those who hate snipe signs would still steal them even if they were legal – happens all the time.

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