They've been crammed into toilets, tossed off balconies and set on fire. They’ve even been adorned with dangling bags of dog droppings.
As cities from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills struggle to control a rapid proliferation of electric pay-per-mile scooters, some residents are taking matters into their own hands and waging a guerrilla war against the devices. These vandals are destroying or desecrating the vehicles in disturbingly imaginative ways, and celebrating their illegal deeds on social media — in full view of authorities and the public.
“They throw them everywhere: in the ocean, in the sand, in the trash can,” said Robert Johnson Bey, a Venice Beach maintenance worker who regularly comes across scooter parts on the Venice Beach boardwalk, Speedway and adjoining alleys.
“Sunday I was finding kickstands everywhere,” Bey said. “Looked like they were snapped off.”
The vandalism echoes a rash of pellet-gun attacks on so-called Google buses in the Bay Area and appears to be motivated in part by resentment over the increasing presence of tech corporations along the Southern California coast — what is now dubbed Silicon Beach.
But unlike the attacks on buses that ferry workers to their Google and Apple offices, the scooter destruction has elicited little sympathy or outrage — to say nothing of criminal investigations. The Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division has received just one report of scooter vandalism that resulted in an arrest, but the case was rejected by the prosecutor. The Santa Monica Police Department said it hasn’t received any such reports.
Lt. Michael Soliman, who supervises the LAPD Pacific Division’s Venice Beach detail, said he’s aware of some vandalism — his team has seen scooters left in a pile 10 feet high. But because people aren’t reporting such incidents, it’s not something officers are responding to, he said.
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The scooters also have invaded my 'hood (the Austin metro area), but I have not heard of any such vandalism here. I'm not a fan of techies either, but I'm not in favor of destroying property to protest them, especially when such destruction will do nothing to hurt the techies themselves.