The hunt is on in San Francisco for vandals who have now tipped over four Smart cars over the past 48 hours.
Three of the pint-sized cars were discovered upended late Monday or early Sunday. A fourth was found on its side later Monday morning.
The vandals — described by a witness to one car-tipping incident as a group of eight people wearing hooded sweatshirts — remain at large, with little more for police investigators to go on.
“All we have right now are multiple suspects wearing black hooded sweatshirts,” San Francisco police Officer Gordon Shyy told KGO-TV.
The car-tipping incidents have left residents scratching their heads over what may have motivated the vandals. Some say it could just be a one-time stunt by a bunch of hooligans wanting to cause a scene. And with Smart cars weighing in at between 1,500 and 1,800 pounds, the two-door coupes are an easy target.
Some victims told local media that the vandalism may be tied to anti-gentrification sentiments that have been gaining steam among people fed up with the ever rising cost of living in San Francisco.
With the cost of living now at levels that almost no one but the most affluent can afford, protesters have taken to the streets to block luxury shuttles ferrying tech workers to Silicon Valley companies.
The influx of Silicon Valley tech employees who have chosen to live in the geographically small city of just 7 by 7 miles has fueled sweeping gentrification that has altered the character of some neighborhoods and driven resentment among the less well-heeled.
Andrew Smith’s Smart car was among those upended in the vandalism spree. He’s lived in San Francisco for 20 years, but told KGO-TV the car-tippings 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.
Shelley Gallivan told NBC Bay Area that she was shocked to find her friend’s Smart car flipped on its right side Monday.
“Whoever is doing this just has misdirected anger,” Gallivan said.
Damage reports for the small cars, which start at around $13,000 new, ranged from torn bumpers to likely being declared a total loss because one of them had rolled partly onto its rooftop.
Police said the culprits would face felony vandalism charges if caught.