3/28/2010France, Germany, Spain: Speed Cameras Burned, Branded, Beaten
Vigilantes in France, Germany and Spain take out a number of speed cameras with spraypaint, sledgehammers and fire.
A speed camera car belonging to Haut-Rhin police burned to the ground in Colmar, France just after midnight on March 19. A fire had broken out and destroyed a garage filled with nine police motorcycles (BMW 1300 and Yamaha 1150 models) and eight police cars. A team of thirty firefighters and four fire trucks struggled to extinguish the blaze before it could take out a second police garage, Dernieres Nouvelles D'Alsace reported. While police and fire inspectors blamed the incident on a "short circuit," mobile speed cameras in at least two other recent instances have spontaneously burst into flames. A van in North Wales, UK caught fire on March 1 and another in Mount Carmel, Tennessee caught fire and burned down a barn on February 21.
On Wednesday, a pair of speed cameras in Avignon were deliberately set on fire. The first automated ticketing machine, on county road 6 580 toward Pujaut, was saved by firefighters responding to the scene. While they were busy, however, vigilantes were busy torching another camera yards away from the fire station -- and fifteen miles away from the first incident, Le Dauphine reported.
In Montpellier, vigilantes covered the lens of the speed camera on avenue Lodeve with fluorescent yellow paint on March 18, Midi Libre reported. Vigilantes in Tarbes used a sledgehammer to smash the lens of a red light camera on the Avenue d'Azeirex, disabling its ability to issue automated tickets. The automated ticketing machine was an Aximum Captor made by the company EL-SI and installed in December, according to Radars-Auto.
On Wednesday at around 5am, a speed camera on the A-2 in Lleida, Spain was smashed with a sledgehammer. Police suspect that a man identified as "Pablo PD" was responsible. Pablo, disoriented, came to the police station with a cut on his forehead to mention that an automated ticketing machine on the highway was broken. After taking the man to the hospital, police charged him with vandalism, Europa Press reported.