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Smart car tipping: Cow-tipping's Smart car version of prank hits Calif. streets

Smart car tipping is the latest prank to trend on the streets of our cities. The eco-friendly vehicles have unique advantages, but their light weight is being targeted by vandals who are flipping the tiny cars over or up on their sides.
Shelley Gallivan on the phone next to her friend’s tipped Smart car in San Francisco.

In San Francisco, “vandals flipped over a handful of miniature Smart cars parked in two typically quiet San Francisco neighborhoods on Monday,” says a report from Reuters on April 8.

San Francisco police officer Gordon Shyy said the Smart car’s small size makes them easily movable by a group of individuals. At least four Smart cars have been flipped over in the Bay area recently.

“These cars are quite small,” Shyy said. “If it was a full size vehicle, then it would be difficult (to tip) even with a large group.”

Says the Reuters report:

So-called "Smart tipping" became an issue several years ago in Canada and Amsterdam, where pranksters would lift the two-seaters and plop them onto their sides or dump them into canals over a series of months in 2009, auto blogs and other media reported at the time.

Police have yet to make any arrests. Witnesses say they spotted a “group of 6 to 8 young men, all in black hoodies” flip a Smart car in the upscale Bernal Heights neighborhood this week.

Shelley Gallivan was watching a Smart car for her friend who lives in Ohio. The small white car was tipped on its side. Gallivan wonders if the Smart car targeting is just a mindless prank, or if the vandals are lashing out against something more.

“It's a bummer. I'm sure hoping it's just a prank and not those who are trying to make a bigger statement in regards to the gentrification in the city,” Gallivan said.

All of the vehicles had shattered windows and body damage as a result of being flipped up and over. Police say the culprits will face felony vandalism charges.

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