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This week in #HoverboardCrime: Hover and punishment

Our long national nightmare continues.


Miles Klee

Internet Culture

Published Apr 9, 2016   Updated May 26, 2021, 11:22 pm CDT

Every great civilization arrives at its tipping point. Perhaps it begins to decay under the weight of an insupportable caste system. Or perhaps it finds itself forced to reckon with imperialist invaders. In some cases, an intellectual revolution rewrites the rules that undergird society.

In our case, it’s fucking hoverboards.

Can there be any doubt that these hands-free gyroscopic scooters signal the end of the great neoliberal experiment? We’re talking about devices that routinely catch firetempt priests to sininjure boxing champions, and cause movie-star freakouts on airplanes. There are only two ways the future can unfold: Either we survive, or the hoverboards do.

And to be honest, right now, the hoverboards are winning. As we continue to hurtle down the path of economic ruin, indescribably bad presidential politics, and ultimate annihilation, it seems all but certain that by the end of the year, these things will be rolling over our graves. 

  • San Antonio — March 31: The headline “Brave employee tackles hoverboard thief” raises some questions. First of all: Is it actually “brave” to attack an armed thief with two accomplices waiting for him in a car outside just so he doesn’t abscond with a few hundred dollars’ worth of novelty toys, or was it just on this dude’s bucket list? “I took him down to the ground and there was a couple of customers there,” explained Devin Bolden. “I had so much adrenaline running, I can’t really remember what happened. But someone said he had a gun, so I was just trying to hold him down for as long as I can.” Like, good job, sorta—your heroism in foiling this heist should definitely bump up your cell phone store’s shitty Yelp rating—but we can’t help assuming you were waiting for any excuse at all to deck a customer. Next time, go for the lady who keeps dropping off Jehova’s Witness brochures. 
  • Union, South Carolina — April 1: Police detained the second of two men they suspect robbed a man and his 13-year-old daughter of their hoverboards, a bit of #HoverboardCrime we reported on last week. (So in answer to your question: No, #HoverboardCrime doesn’t pay.) It is hoped that the jury in their trial will be allowed to ride the evidence.
  • Clearwater, Florida — April 3: The U.K. is the European capital of #HoverboardCrime, as one infamous shoplifting case demonstrated. But that didn’t stop the British rags from guffawing about a Florida man who tried to make his getaway on a device “with a top speed of just over 10mph.” The Telegraph noted that police “approached Jerome Antoine Dennis… after noticing the smell of marijuana”—it is, of course, impossible to enjoy hoverboarding unless heavily intoxicated—and apprehended their suspect, who was out on bond for cocaine possession, after he’d given up on the hands-free scooter to continue his escape on foot. Were hoverboards created by neoconservatives at the highest level of government to escalate the War on Drugs? We’re not saying that, but also, yes we are. The cops did not disclose “whether the hoverboard was impounded,” which means they are currently riding it around the station, and someone is going to knock the coffee machine over in five, four, three, two… Goddammit, Rodney.
  • Arlington, Virginia — April 4: Finally, mainstream media is getting into moral panic mode about this stuff: “In one of the most brazen crimes imaginable,” Arlington Patch breathlessly reported, “a man robbed a child of a hoverboard on 23rd Street in downtown Crystal City in the middle of the day.” It’s a shame Devin Bolden wasn’t around to brazenly tackle this brazen thief while a bunch of useless bystanders brazenly looked on. But perhaps this way the kid will learn a valuable lesson: Never go outside, especially not in the middle of the day.
  • Springfield, Massachusetts — April 5: Two fugitives from Connecticut (Mark F. Fitzgibbon, 31, and Ramon Rodriguez, 34) were arrested and charged with robbing a collectibles store several weeks ago. Per Mass Live, “[t]he owner told police that several items were taken during the January break-in including televisions, some video game control systems and at least one hoverboard.” Hold up, there. At least one hoverboard? Are they hard to count? Had this dude not been doing his regular hoverboard inventory? Is he… embezzling hoverboards? Definitely set a Google Alert for “Small-town Connecticut mayor exposed in hoverboard bribery scandal.” This could get messy. 
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*First Published: Apr 9, 2016, 12:00 pm CDT