Are electric scooters about to become the vehicle of choice for bank robbers fleeing the scene of the crime? Judging by what happened after an alleged robbery in Texas recently, probably not.
The suspect, a 19-year-old man called Luca P. Mangiarano, reportedly walked into a bank in Austin and passed a note to a teller demanding she hand over cash. After taking the money, Mangiarano is said to have fled the scene on an electric scooter operated by Jump, a scootershare company owned by Uber.
But the fact that the two-wheeler only has a top speed of around 15 mph wasn’t the suspect’s only problem as he apparently used his Jump account to rent the scooter. Yes, this did indeed make it a whole lot easier for investigators to track him down.
Riders using scootershare services have to download an app and enter their payment details before they can start using the vehicles, with the rental fee calculated on a per-minute basis.
According to local media reports, the cops began their investigation by using surveillance camera footage to trace the route taken by the suspect as he trundled away from the bank on the electric scooter. They were then able to use clues taken from the footage to match the suspect with his Jump account after asking Uber to cooperate in the search for the man.
The alleged crime took place in December 2018, and last week Mangiarano was charged with robbery by threat, categorized as a second-degree felony.
Not the first time
Bizarrely, this isn’t the first reported case of a rental scooter being used as a getaway vehicle — a development that may be put down to the growing ubiquity of such services. An electric scooter belonging to Bird, for example, was reportedly used by a burglar fleeing the scene of a crime in Indianapolis, Indiana, in September 2018.
These more recent incidents bring to mind a similar episode a couple of years back when a suspect tried to escape from police on a hoverboard. Cops had stopped the guy on suspicion of drug possession, prompting him to flee on his personal transporter. But the machine’s top speed of just 6 mph meant it wasn’t long before the officers caught up with him.