Foam sealant injected into St. Pete parking meters costing thousands to fix

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Someone in St. Petersburg is taking revenge on dozens of parking meters.

In the past week and a half, the person responsible has damaged 74 meters in the downtown area.

Let’s face it. Nobody likes to pay to park. But apparently somebody is taking their anger out, by injecting sticky, expandable foam into the coin and credit card slots of parking meters.

8 On Your Side showed pictures of the damaged meters to people along Beach Drive.

“It’s probably a teenager doing it, thinking it’s hilarious and funny.  It’s just gonna cost taxpayers more to replace them. So it’s unfortunate for us who do have jobs and pay, right?” Dennis Montoya said.

The first incident happened Oct. 27 in the 600 block of Central Avenue sometime between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Police say 27 meters were damaged at this time.

The second incident happened Friday in the 400 block of Central Avenue between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. At this time, 26 meters were damaged.

The third incident happened overnight Wednesday along the 100 block of Beach Drive N.E. and Bayshore Drive in downtown St. Petersburg. Police say 21 meters were damaged this time.

“We’re looking at $550 per meter that needs to be replaced.  That adds up very quickly” said Sandra Bentil with the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Repair crews are trying to keep up. Sometimes, they can salvage a meter. Other times, they can’t, or it works for a time, and then quits.

“I think it’s terrible because I have to pay taxes and that’s where the tax money is going,” Arthur Finegold said. “I understand everybody’s being frustrated about the parking meters, but it’s just the nature of it. There’s a price to pay when you live in paradise”

The St. Petersburg Police Department is appealing to business owners and the public for information and video of the parking meter vandal. Anyone with information is asked to call 727-893-7780.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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