Sunday Times (WA) 20/07/03
Speed camera revenge attacks
By JIM KELLY
POLICE suspect a serial vandal is behind a spate of attacks on speed cameras in Perth's northern suburbs.
Steps have been taken to protect cameras and operators while police hunt a suspected Multanova terminator.
All attacks took place within kilometres of each other during the past five weeks.
Acting Inspector Graham Clifford said similarities between the offences suggested a serial vandal was at work.
"It is possible there is one person who has got a bee in their bonnet about the cameras," he said.
"But we are not closing our minds to the possibility that there is a copy-cat situation happening.
"Whichever is the case, when we catch someone we are going to throw the book at them."
The camera bandit first hit in Wanneroo at 8pm on June 15 when he took to a Multanova with a baseball bat.
It took three strikes and the camera was out. A week later at 10pm a second camera disappeared from Hepburn Ave in Kingsley during heavy rain.
It was found in pieces in nearby bush.
The spree continued on July 6 when a man grabbed a Multanova near Karuah Way in Kingsley and tried to run off with it.
He dropped it and bolted after being unable to pull out the cable connecting it to the operator's vehicle.
The latest attack occurred in daylight on Reid Highway, Balcatta, when a man emerged from bushes, kicked a camera and disappeared back into the undergrowth.
The damage bill from the four incidents is more than $100,000.
Acting-Insp Clifford said police would seek restitution from anyone convicted of damaging speed cameras.
He said vandals should be aware that speed cameras were used to save lives by slowing motorists down.
"These actions are not going to achieve anything because we are not going to change the way we use speed cameras," he said.
"The cameras are insured and we either fix them or replace them."