The use of speed cameras by police to spot and ticket speeding drivers is not without its critics, but two people in Rhode Island took it to another level this week by unbolting the $80,000 system from the ground and stealing it, WPRI reports.
The capital city of Providence installed five speed cameras on various roads in several different neighborhoods last week, acting under new state legislation that allows the use of automated ticketing within a quarter-mile of a school. According to WPRI, a company called Conduent Solutions was contracted to install and maintain the cameras, and an employee called police after returning to the Pearce Street location to perform a test run and discovered the unit was missing.
The $80,000 camera was composed of two parts—a top box containing the lenses and speed-detection equipment, and a base that holds a 130-pound lithium battery, according to the police report. It's possible the battery was the motivating factor in this crime, rather than raging against the machine, but we'll have to wait until police catch the suspects to find out.
Providence detectives managed to get security footage from a location nearby that showed two people arriving in an older Dodge pickup and making off with the camera in middle of the day on Friday, January 12, less than a week after the system was set up. It was reportedly bolted to the ground, which clearly wasn't enough to stop the thieves.
While it might feel cathartic to read about someone striking back at the man, WJAR spoke to several neighbors along the road who were dismayed to see the speed camera go. One told the station that he noticed it go missing last week, but figured that police had moved it to a less conspicuous area. Another said it felt like a "blessing" when he saw it first appear, considering how often people speed on their street.
Fortunately, the missing camera won't cost taxpayers anything—the Providence mayor's office told WJAR that it's Conduent Solutions' responsibility to replace it.