Police Arrest Speed Camera Van Vandal

Police said this was the third incident of speed camera van vandalism this month.


Editor's Note: This story was updated to include information from the police report.

Howard County police announced on Wednesday they arrested an Ellicott City man who was shooting marbles at a speed camera near Manor Woods Elementary School around 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Bruce Lawrence May, 50, of 2882 Evergreen Court in Ellicott City, was charged with second-degree assault, destruction of property and reckless endangerment after police said they determined he was driving the vehicle the marbles were being shot from.

A civilian speed camera van operator was inside the van at the corner of Route 144 and Tridelphia Road when he heard something strike the side of the van and saw a gray 2005 Chrysler Town and Country Minivan passing on Route 144, according to police.

The same van passed again and the van operator saw the driver, May, with a sling shot firing a projectile at the van, said police. The projectiles were later determined by police to be glass marbles.

The van operator reported the incident to police and May was later stopped and arrested, according to police.

During a police interview, May reportedly said he was angry at the speed vans because he had received two speeding citations in the past six weeks, according to the police report.

The speed camera van is assigned to the Manor Woods school zone because a county summer camp program takes place there from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., police said.

Police reported that this is the third incident this month involving damage to speed camera vans. 

The other two: 

  • On June 13, someone threw an unknown object at a Howard County speed camera van on Route 99 near Waverly Elementary School in Ellicott City, breaking the back window.
  • On June 12, someone threw rocks through the window of a State Highway Administration speed camera van on U.S. 29 near Route 103, striking the operator and damaging the equipment and vehicle.

Police said they are investigating whether all three incidents are related.

Also, in April, a stationary speed camera in Catonsville was torched a week after it was installed by Baltimore County. Police determined that incident caused $13,000 in damages. 

Howard County speed cameras are allowed to operate in school zones between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Earlier this year, police noted they would continue to operate the cameras during the summer months because summer programs take place at many schools.

Other Patch speed camera coverage:

Wendy Woods June 27, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Oh grow up! Speed cameras exist because people speed - get over it! The way to make them unnecessary is to abide by the speed limit, not vandalize or disable the equipment.
Jack Lucas June 27, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Wendy, let's not forget the real reason its called money...and since Martin, has blown all of our money, the States and Counties have to make money someway.
Wendy Woods June 27, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Jack - I know people feel that way, but again, the way to keep those $$ from rolling in is to just not speed, which would eliminate the fines and decrease the amount going into those coffers... Comes down to the same thing: it's not the fault of the law if a person chooses not to obey it.
jag June 27, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Uh, no, the real reason for speeding tickets has nothing to do with who happens to have been governor of 1 state for a few years.
Brian Hooks (Editor) June 27, 2012 at 06:21 PM
I know this is looking way down the line, but is anyone concerned that speed ticket funds could create a bubble that will deflate if driverless car technology expands? Just something to think about... Google has been working on the technology: http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2012/05/08/google-gets-first-licenses-for-driverless-cars/
Mark Shrader June 27, 2012 at 07:36 PM
People like Bruce Lawrence May should be treated as a hero much like our Armed Forces or anyone else who stands up for our rights. We as Americans need to stop allowing people to interfering with our rights. And when we have no rights left, we will realize that it all began when we let speed cameras photograph us and the TSA agents do whatever they wanted to.
Rick Fedorchak June 27, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Sounds like Mr. May cast his vote on how he feels about the speed camera vans. I have to say, with the Manor Woods and West Friendship elementary locations.... I'm suspicious of the reasoning. I see the speed camera vans there all the time. OTOH I do not see any school activities actually taking place. Furthermore the Manor Woods location is a 'set up' as the van is parked at the bottom of a hill. Hence traffic going either direction is going downhill approaching the van. As much as I hate to admit it, I believe this is in place primarily as a revenue generator, not as a safety measure. If SAFETY was the primary reason for the vans being there, they would place them in a position of maximum visibility, which would cause vehicles to slow down. However that's not the case and in fact they do their very best to hide the vans from approaching traffic, so they're obviously not so worried about slowing vehicles as they are getting the opportunity to snap a photo and issue a fine. It's all about the $$$
Rick Fedorchak June 27, 2012 at 08:37 PM
And then there's the 'violation of Constitutional rights' issue with these cameras. They're being successfully fought in many states. http://marylandpatriots.org/maryland-speed-cameras-violate-constitutional-rights/
Andrea G June 27, 2012 at 08:55 PM
"Our" rights to what? Speed through school zones? What about the right for kids to walk home safely?
Andrea G June 27, 2012 at 08:57 PM
What Constitutional Rights are being broken by taking pictures of people breaking the law on a public road?
Mike Radinsky June 27, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Brian, If and when driverless car technology comes about, the government will find a way to garner revenue from it, either from required "safety" inspections, a broadband technology user fee, or perhaps a fee if you wish not to embrace the new, "safer" technology, and still want to use your un-smart car, ala opting out of the health insurance mandate.
Janet June 27, 2012 at 09:25 PM
I used to think these vans were unfair. Then one day I was driving past my son's school when the flashing lights were going at about 2 pm. A dump truck 2 cars ahead of me slowed down to the speed limit. The idiot behind him and in front of me decided he didn't want to slow down and illegally passed the dump truck. Wish at that time that there would have been a van or an officer present then!
uneverno June 27, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Yes, thank you Mr. May, for standing up for our rights, specifically our right to drive like unadulterated maniacs through school zones. You are indeed a true American hero. Why can't the government just stay out of our lives, let us drive at any speed we choose, unrestrained by the shackles of civilization. Heck while we're at it, let's swill down some homemade moonshine, all the while shooting our guns out the windows with reckless abandon. Ain't no government folk gonna tell us what to do! Yee-haw, we're true 'mericans, y'all!
Rick Fedorchak June 27, 2012 at 10:59 PM
@Andrea G.. The right to face your accuser is denied with these cameras. It was in the link I provided.
Leigh Oats June 27, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Let's hope he isn't acquitted on the grounds that he's been losing his marbles. There are safer and eventually more effective ways to protest against so-called "speed" cameras.
Lorraine Kelly June 27, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Mr. Shrader, IF you were being serious, I am extremely offended by your comparison of this law breaking, property damaging, law breaking idiot, to those who are serving there country in the armed forces. Wish I could have my Vet son speak with you, or his buddy who is dead, or perhaps his other buddy who has had 8 brain surgeries, not too mention many other surgeries, but alas, he is still unable to read or speak. Shame, shame on you. If you don't like it here, MOVE out of the country, PLEASE! If you were being sarcastic, it did not resonate and you should leave our brave men and women out of your statement either way.
Brook Hubbard June 28, 2012 at 12:16 AM
The REASON for the camera is not important. Whether it's there for safety or there to make money is speculation. Ignore the reason and the claims of government intrusion and financial conspiracy, and instead look at what they do. The camera is only activated if you speed at a high rate (12 mph over the limit). Don't want the fine? Don't speed! I'm not sure how hard it is to simply accept that this is the easiest way to not only avoid a fine but also to not put any money into the government coffer. You can argue day and night over why it's there, whether it's just or constitutional, what to do about it, etc. The fact remains that you just shouldn't speed (especially excessively) and that's all that needs be done.
David Maier June 28, 2012 at 01:21 PM
I have had my say many times about speed camera. It is clearly all about the money. The Government uses the red herring of "Safety" to justify their use of cameras in order to get more money. If the Government was truly interested in safety, there are things that could be done to solve the problem at all schools and not just a school on the day that the cameras are present. These items are one time expenses that the citizens could see and feel it is justified. These things are speed humps near the schools, flashing signs to warn of the zone, narrowing the lanes as you approach the school; an automatic speed monitor that shows you your speed if you are speeding unintentionally (I can tell you the unit on East West Blvd in A.A. County works for me); Painting lines on the road, etc. There are ways to improve driver behavior if that is the desire. Government just doesn't get it, when they choose to be punitive (fines) they raise the ire of certain people and you get the Robin Hood effect. Our "Never Enough Revenue" politicians don't know how to operate within our means. Just take a good look at Stockton CA - they are planning to file bankruptcy. Chicago isn't far behind as well as Illinois. It is time to think outside the box and stop mortgaging the future.
Dave A. June 28, 2012 at 09:11 PM
I think they should put these cameras everywhere! If you don't want a ticket then SLOW DOWN! They already give you 12 mph over the posted limit!! If they posted law enforcement working radar, and they wrote you a ticket there would be points and a stiffer fine! Slow down! Now some serious questions here... How many of you that are opposed to these have been popped for speeding? How many of you are angry that you have to slow down on your travels due to the possibility of being popped? I am willing to bet that most of you are afraid of being popped and then getting popped again. Shame on you if you didn't learn the first time! Bottom line: SLOW DOWN and you will HOLD ON to your money!
Dave A. June 28, 2012 at 09:13 PM
As far as Mr. May, he unfortunately did not learn the first time, then couldn't control his anger. He even admitted last night on channel 13 that he was "stupid" for doing what he did. Now he faces ALOT more then a $40 fine and the possibility of a jail sentence and now a criminal record!
LF June 29, 2012 at 04:32 PM
No one has the right to endanger someone's life. The speed camera operators are doing their job. If he was aiming a sling shot and driving a car, he showed callous disregard for anyone in the area, as well as assaulting an innocent person and causing property damage. If you disagree with speed cameras there are other venues to vent your grievances. Wendy, you took the words out of my mouth. Grow up, get over it, and stop speeding around our kids. The reference to veterans is repulsive.
Sean Colin June 30, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I believe the best way to show our support for school zone speed cameras is to lay on our horns for the entire length of any marked school zone. This act of audible support will prove to people living along that stretch of road that no matter what day or night, we are staunch proponents of speed cameras near their homes. Second, this 110db reinforcement will also warn children playing in the area that a vehicle is approaching. I would imagine the families with small sleeping children would appreciate this show of support so much, they would call the police department to express how much they like having the cameras located on their street.
Williams June 30, 2012 at 06:47 PM
If you believe, as I do, that these vans are simply about revenue generation, then the argument that all we need do is simply not speed is a false solution. The state and counties will find other ways to take our money, whether it's raising bridge tools, enacting absurd "snack taxes", building more casinos--whatever it takes to generate more revenue. The belief that these cameras make schools safer, or are event intended for that, is naive.
shirazeh tabibi July 03, 2012 at 11:33 PM
which constitutional ammendments do the speed cameras violate? if none other, at least the 4th, if not the 14th or the first. usually i bitch a little then pay my fine and learn. however, anyone who REALLY BELIEVES they are there to make us safer... think about this: what if a hit and run accident were to be caught on camera? the identity of the driver is unknown, and the identity of the victim in such a horrifying accident would probably also be unknown. these cameras aren't installed in places where tourist $s are higher than in MD. politicians who petition for these cameras have even admitted this is basically a tax. i wouldnt even be talking about this if it werent for the fact that i just got a ticket for a ticket received by my car while i was not driving it (and i dont know who was driving it. at the time when the license plates that are registered to me were photographed, i was in a relationship in which he didnt respect *my* car and handed it to some drunk idiot friend of his was driving) now i, unemployed and almost homeless, have to pay this idiotic fine cuz i dont know who was driving my car. the state also refuses to give me more than five days, so the fine might be doubled by the end of this evening. these tickets are ridiculous.


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