A Florida man was arrested after being caught on video slicing brake lines of electric scooters, local police said.
59-year-old Randall Thomas Williams, of Fort Lauderdale, was caught Sept. 29 in the act of tampering with several scooters, the police department said Oct. 2 in a press release. He has been charged with criminal mischief, a third-degree felony.
“Further investigation revealed a total of 20 scooters were located nearby with severed brake lines,” police said, adding that as many as 140 electric scooters operated by different vendors throughout the city have had their brakes cut since April. A majority of the incidents occurred near East Broward Boulevard, which is near Williams’ residence.
The FLPD posted a surveillance camera footage of a scooter vandalism incident to its official YouTube channel. The video taken at around 3:45 a.m. shows the male vandal, whom police identified as Williams, approaching a docked Lime-brand scooter and doing something on the scooter’s QR activation code before walking off camera. He then returns shortly with a tool in hand and appears to cut the two-wheeler’s brake lines.
Williams offered no motive for the brake line cutting spree, reportedly telling his attorney he “did not want to dig himself into a grave,” according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Police notified Lime and other scooter operators about the damaged vehicles. The companies responded that they are taking the affected devices out of service to avoid rider injury, reported the Sun-Sentinel.
“Anyone who witnesses someone tampering with electric scooters should call 911 immediately,” police said. “Additionally, anyone who finds a scooter that appears to have been tampered with should contact the vendor.” It is currently unclear if any Fort Lauderdale residents suffered an injury while riding an electric scooter with cut brake lines.
The rise of the rented e-scooters in many communities around the country also appears to be generating an aggressive backlash on social media. Some residents of communities in which dockless scooters operate are so sick of the vehicles occupying sidewalk space or simply scattering around that they express their frustration in extreme ways. Instagram accounts like “Bird Graveyard” or “Scooters Behaving Badly” have gained hundreds of thousands of followers in the past few months. Since its founding in June, “Bird Graveyard” has become a showcase of user-submitted images and videos of scooters dismembered, set on fire, covered in trash, and lying at the bottom of the river.