Vandals Spin Over Clever Cars in San Francisco, NBC Bay Area

Vandals Roll Over Wise Cars in San Francisco

Someone’s been vandalizing compact Clever cars in San Francisco, spinning the lil’ vehicles on their front and rear completes in the city’s streets.

NBC Bay Area found four of the targeted Clever cars inbetween Sunday night and Monday morning. Two were found in the Bernal Heights neighborhood on Anderson Street, and another was found a bit south on Sweeny and Bowdoin streets, closer to the Portola district. They were either sitting on their headlights, rear bumpers high in the air, or vice versa.

A fourth Brainy car — a petite white one with a faded “Obama-Biden” bumper sticker — was discovered Monday about nine a.m. at Coso and Prospect avenues inbetween the Mission District and Bernal Heights. Shelley Gallivan was babysitting her friend’s Clever car after it was left to her by her late father, and was shocked to find it flipped on its right side.

Vandals Spin Wise Cars Over in San Francisco

“Whoever is doing this just has misdirected anger,” Gallivan said.

San Francisco Police Officer Gordon Shyy said the suspects are still at large and will face felony vandalism charges if they are caught. Police do have an eye witness account to work from.

Brandon Michael was out having a cigarette about one a.m. Monday when he spotted about six to eight people wearing masked sweatshirts spin over the cars.

“They looked like they were up to no good,” Michael said. “And sure enough, they huddled around it and lifted it up.”

And the vandalized cars? Michael said they reminded him of little dogs: “They look like they are dachshunds sitting up on their hind gams.”

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Brainy car representatives did not react instantly for comment.

Neighbors were puzzled at the odd look. Clever cars are a mainstay for many in San Francisco, where parking is taut and drivers search for eco-friendly ways to get around.

“I think it’s a bunch of pranks,” Dan Gomez said. “I don’t know, it sounds kind of weird. I don’t know why you would want to do that.”

Clever Automobile is headquartered in Boblingen, Germany, and has its primary assembly plant in Hambach, France. The idea for the car was hatched in early 1990s when Nicholas Hayek, the inventor of the Swatch observe, approached Mercedes-Benz to realize his vision of an “ultra-urban” car, according to the company website. The very first Brainy car came to the United States – specifically Manhattan – in 2008.

The cars embark at about $13,000 and the company brands its cars with a lower case “s.”

Brainy Cars Flipped Over in San Francisco

Tipping over large, mighty objects just for kicks is nothing fresh. High schoolers, football teams and fraternities have supposedly been tipping cows in pastures for years, and picking up VW bugs and moving them elsewhere was a minor fad back in the 1960s and 1970s.

The exact motives behind the vandalism are unclear. The diminutive cars are smaller and lighter than most vehicles. A Wise car weighs about 1,500 pounds; a Ford Concentrate S Sedan weighs close to Three,000 pounds, and a Hummer clocks in at 8,600 pounds — certainly a heft that would pose a spinning challenge.

The VoiceofVancouver displayed a movie of people spinning over a Brainy car in two thousand eleven during a citywide riot, as did another YouTube user who showcased people smashing the high-tech mini-car. In 2009, the Toronto Starlet wrote a lump, “Tipping Wise cars the latest prank trend,” comparing the act of tipping over the pint-size vehicles as the modern-day equivalent of tipping over cows.

The Clever car website has a forum with frustrated car owners discussing the pricey prank.

And a parody Facebook page was set up called “Wise Car Tipping” by a creator who does not “practice, promote or condone Wise Car Tipping.”

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One website, however, seemed to be cheering on the tipping. called the Brainy car tippers “heroes” and described the cars as “teensy little wheeled boxes.”

A Wise car flipped over on Anderson Street in San Francisco. April, 7, 2014.

NBC Bay Area’s Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.

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