NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More than two dozen LinkNYC kiosks have been vandalized across the city.
The kiosks replaced phone booths and provide free Wi-Fi and calling services, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Tuesday.READ MORE: COVID Anniversary: New York Marks 1 Year Since 1st Case Detected
An NYPD officer took pictures of the shattered glass of a kiosk on West 14th Street near 7th Avenue. Caution tape covered another damaged one further down the street.
“Why? Why would you do that? I mean, they’re spending a lot of money to put those out there and it’s kind of convenient,” said Sandra Brathwait, who works in the area.
According to LinkNYC, there have been 30 kiosks targeted, mainly in this West Village neighborhood and in Chelsea within the last week.
“It seems like an unnecessary form of anger, so it bothers me, definitely,” West Village resident David Hutchings said.
On Friday, Mohammed Islam was at his fruit stand at the corner of 14th Street and 5th Avenue when he said he heard a loud crash at the kiosk just steps away. He said he saw the suspect, a man, throw a large stone at the screen in broad daylight.READ MORE: New Jersey Sports Arenas Reopen At Limited Capacity
“A lot of people see … he broke the other one and then go,” Islam said.
Islam said the screen in question has since been fixed.
Witnesses called police who then discovered the string of vandalism. The units were installed to replace pay phones and give access to city services.
“It gives you free public Wi-Fi. I gives you 311, 911, charge your phone,” said John Ponessa, who works in Chelsea.
The kiosks have received backlash for being a place where the homeless camp out and where others use the Wi-Fi to watch pornography. Police have not linked those concerns to this string of vandalism, Cline-Thomas reported.
Authorities said surveillance video captured the vandalism at certain locations and witnesses were able to take a picture of the suspect.MORE NEWS: NYPD: Man Charged With Murder In Quadruple Stabbing That Killed Good Samaritan
Officials said while the glass is shattered, many of the kiosks still work.