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Who targeted St. Petersburg’s downtown parking meters?

Twice in the past week, a total of 53 parking meters were disabled with foam sealant. St. Petersburg police would like to meet whoever is responsible.
Photographs of downtown St. Petersburg parking meters along Central Avenue that were vandalized with foam sealant. The photo on the left is from the city, the photo on the right was sent to the Tampa Bay Times. [Times]
Photographs of downtown St. Petersburg parking meters along Central Avenue that were vandalized with foam sealant. The photo on the left is from the city, the photo on the right was sent to the Tampa Bay Times. [Times]
Published Nov. 1, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG ― Someone has it out for downtown’s parking meters.

A total of 53 parking meters between the 400 and 600 blocks of Central Avenue were targeted in the past week by an unknown vandal or vandals who sprayed foam sealant into the coin and credit card slots, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

The damage is estimated to cost the city a total of $10,000 to $12,000 in parts and labor to fix them. Some of the parking meters couldn’t be salvaged and had to be replaced.

Have a confidential tip for our investigations team? Visit: tampabay.com/tips

The destruction started on Sunday, when 27 meters were vandalized along the 600 block of Central Avenue sometime between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., police said.

Then on Friday, another 26 meters along the 400 block were targeted sometime between 6:30 a.m and 9:30 a.m., police said.

A photo of a damaged meter sent to the Tampa Bay Times showed a note left taped to the side of a damaged meter that said: "It’s okay to be white.”

All but three meters were repaired by late Friday afternoon, according to the city’s transportation and parking management director, Evan Mory.

Police are now looking for whoever vandalized the meters. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call the St. Petersburg Police Department at (727) 893-7780.

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