A joint operation on Miami Beach is hitting the brakes on illegal business in South Florida. At the center of the busts? Scooters and those three-wheel "slingshots."
Tourists love them, and residents hate them. But police say it's illegal for businesses to rent them in Miami Beach. And, this week, they found a spot where some of them are being stored.
Police found 23 slingshots, at least 80 scooters and seven golf carts all stored at the Ocean Steps Condo Garage on 15th and Collins. Police say a makeshift repair area was also inside.
“We’ve seen in the past few months videos, countless videos, of these types of slingshots operating recklessly," Officer Ernesto Rodriguez said.
In March, a driver in a slingshot hit four bicyclists on a sidewalk on the side of the McArthur Causeway. A woman was rushed to the hospital with head trauma — and the causeway was shut down for hours.
“It’s a balance because we are a tourist destination, but we want to be a responsible tourist destination, and we want to have responsible operators here renting to these tourists here to have a good time,” Rodriguez said.
Police say this week’s crackdown revealed how serious a problem slingshot rentals are. They issued 22 violations and fined seven businesses for illegally operating on Miami Beach.
“We’re hoping this sends a message to bad operators trying to circumvent our laws and sends a message they need to operate by the rule," Rodriguez said.
The police were tipped off and worked jointly with zoning, code and legal to shut it down. The businesses had to remove the vehicles and pay at least $1,000 in fines for each one.
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