Police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida have arrested 59-year-old Randall Williams after obtaining footage of him cutting the brake cables of multiple electric scooters, with the suspicion that he may be responsible for over 140 cases of similar scooter sabotage.
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department (FLPD) has been tracking a wave of scooter vandalism that began this past April, reports BBC. With the majority of cases occurring within a small area, the FLPD decided to set up surveillance around the hotspot. It quickly paid off: A then-unknown individual was filmed on at least three separate occasions tampering with scooters by snipping their brake cables and placing stickers over their QR activation codes to render them inoperable. Affected scooters belonged to several mobility companies including Bird and Lime.
Officers were then deployed to patrol the area, and in the early morning hours of September 28, one reportedly spotted Williams skulking around the neighborhood in a shadowy alley. Williams reportedly failed to come up with a satisfying explanation for his presence, and an ensuing search of his personal effects uncovered a glove and two wire cutters. He was then placed under arrest for “loitering or prowling” and felony criminal mischief; authorities also racked on a resisting arrest charge when Williams wouldn’t go quietly.
Police are in the process of gathering evidence to charge him with as many incidents of sabotage as possible—they claim to have proof of his guilt in 20 cases, with at least 140 suspected—and the FLPD also noted the majority of those occurred “within a two block-radius" of his residence.
Rental scooters may be a public nuisance in places, but this isn’t the way to make your displeasure known. It’s not clear whether any riders were injured after hopping on a scooter with non-functional brakes, but that’s the obvious public safety risk here. Besides, all that time, effort, and a likely criminal record just to cost Lime a couple grand in replacement cables. There’s no way he’s thinking it was worth it.