A 59-year-old resident of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief after police caught him tampering with a couple of Lime electric scooters. After further investigation, police discovered a total of 20 scooters in the nearby area with their brakes cut, and they have linked the suspect, Randall Thomas Williams, to dozens more.
There has been a rash of scooter vandalism in Fort Lauderdale, with police saying more than 140 two-wheelers have been damaged since April 2019. A majority of the incidents occurred near East Broward Boulevard, which is near Williams’ residence. All included severed brake lines.
Williams offered no motive for the vandalism, telling police he “did not want to dig himself into a grave,” according to the SunSentinel. Typically, he set out before sunrise with a single glove, wire cutters, and pliers, searching for the popular yet controversial electric scooters, police said.
Police notified Lime and other scooter operators about the damaged devices. The companies are proactively removing the scooters from service to avoid rider injury, they say. Police aren’t sure whether anyone was injured while riding the damaged scooters.
Last year, Fort Lauderdale awarded a one-year permit to Lime, Bolt, and Bird. Those permits expire next month, at which time the city plans to discuss the impact scooters have had on transportation patterns and quality of life.
Vandalism and depreciation are taking their toll on the scooter business. Companies are scrambling to roll out tougher, longer-lasting scooters in order to turnaround their cash-losing business. Encouraged by social media and a growing “techlash,” anti-scooter types have knocked them into the streets, thrown them off parking garages, or even doused them with lighter fluid and set them on fire.