Update, Oct. 7.: A Virgin Mobile spokeswoman confirmed to Patch that the ads are part of a Virgin Mobile USA local marketing effort. She described the ads as "temporary placements."
"These are not illegal installations and we have placed these in several markets around the country," wrote the spokeswoman, Jayne Wallace, in an email to Patch.
Original post, Oct. 6: There's no shortage of advertisements in Bethesda, but lately they've been cropping up in an unexpected place -- the sidewalk.
About five power-washed stencil ads that appear to be promoting Virgin Mobile cell phone plans have been noticed on sidewalks in Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle neighborhood, according to Ken Hartman, director of the
A county attorney and the county's Department of Permitting Services have agreed the ads are illegal, constituting both illegal signage and defacement of public right-of-way, Hartman wrote in an email to Patch.
It's not clear who is responsible, but officials are attempting to track down those responsible and have them remove the ads.
Virgin Mobile's corporate communications office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.