An “inappropriate” sign posted at a Popeye’s in Missouri is under criminal investigation, police say.

By Zara Barker

The sign posted in the drive-thru of a location in Lake Saint Louis stated the “restaurant is under new management and will reserve the right to refuse service to white people.”

A photo of the sign was widely circulated on social media Wednesday.

But Lake Saint Louis police say someone put up the sign “unbeknownst to the business.” They say the sign could be related to vandalism at the Popeyes earlier this month.

Police investigating racially offensive sign outside Lake St. Louis Popeye’s

A manager at the Popeyes told KMOV that surveillance video confirms employees didn’t post the sign.

Nonetheless, the restaurant was forced to close Wednesday because of outcry over the message, the news outlet reported.

Lt. Pat Doering of the Lake Saint Louis Police Department told KTVI the vandalism in early May included shattered glass and obscene messages painted on the drive-thru menu, but the words were not racially offensive.

Though the restaurant was closed Wednesday, drivers went through the drive-thru with some looking to see whether the sign was real and others just hungry for Popeyes, KTVI reported.

“We have been made aware of the situation and are investigating the matter immediately,” Popeyes said in a statement to KTVI. “This type of behavior does not align with our brand values and we take such allegations very seriously.

The franchise is cooperating with local authorities regarding this ongoing investigation.”

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