US & Canada

Florida man arrested for cutting electric scooter brakes

Police surveillance footage of the suspect appearing to tamper with scooters Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Cameras captured a man apparently tampering with the vehicles

A man in Florida has been arrested on suspicion of tampering with electric scooters that were available for hire on the streets of his neighbourhood.

According to Fort Lauderdale police, a surveillance operation was set up over the weekend after more than 140 scooters were vandalised.

Randall Williams, 59, was captured on camera cutting brake lines over three days, police say.

Police have not said what the suspect's motive may have been.

When Mr Williams was arrested on Sunday, he was found carrying two pairs of wire cutters and wearing one glove.

He has been charged with criminal mischief as well as resisting arrest and "loitering or prowling".

Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Police have not given a motive for the suspect

"In the early morning hours on 28 September 2019... the defendant was observed walking around the neighbourhood, hiding in the shadows, and utilising the dark alleyways to conceal himself from public view," according to the police arrest report.

It said he placed white stickers over the QR codes used by riders to activate the scooters.

During his interrogation "the defendant failed to dispel officers' alarm as to why he was lurking in the shadows and using the alleyways behind closed business, which are not normal avenues of transport for law-abiding citizens", police said.

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Media captionWATCH: Should e-scooters be legal on public roads?

Police say they notified the scooter companies of the vandalism and that they "proactively removed the scooters in the vicinity from service to avoid rider injury". It is not known whether any riders were injured due to the vandalism.

Of the scores of scooters found vandalised in Fort Lauderdale since April 2019, officers said a majority of those found were "within a two block-radius" of Mr Williams' home.

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