Vandals flip Smart cars around San Francisco

San Francisco police are investigating why vandals flipped four Smart cars around the city.
April 7, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Someone is tipping over smart cars in San Francisco. In the last 24 hours, four of the lightweight vehicles have been flipped over.

Nose up, roof down or on one side, Smart cars were shoved into strange and damaging positions overnight.

Dyche Mullins snapped this photo when he went out to investigate.

"I heard the sound of a vehicle kind of idling outside and then a loud crash and then the vehicle speeding off," Mullins said. "It just didn't look like a wreck."

Smart cars only weigh about 1,600 pounds, so they've been a tipping target for years. One YouTube video shows one pushed over during a 2011 riot in Vancouver and there's a Facebook page dedicated to those who wish to tip. But police say this is the first time we've seen smart car tipping in San Francisco.

Andrew Smith's Smart car was part the same crime spree.

"Because it was rolled onto its roof, the insurance company has told us it's likely a total loss," he said.

Smith's lived in San Francisco for 20 years but thinks the vandalism could be part of recent tension surrounding the tech boom.

"The Smart car and the gentrification of San Francisco are linked in some people's minds," he said.

Just before noon, a fourth Smart car was found on its side in Bernal Heights.

"My husband Chris said don't put it there, someone's going to hit it," Shelley Gallivan said.

But the damage clearly isn't the result of an accident.

"It's a bummer because this is going to cost thousands of dollars," Gallivan said.

Police believe between six and eight people are involved and they're investigating the crimes as felony vandalism.

"All we have right now are multiple suspects wearing black hooded sweatshirts," Officer Gordon Shyy said.

Shyy suggests parking in a garage, but that's not always an option in the city.

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