A towing company has been outed as uplifting Lime scooters and bikes from Auckland’s streets and demanding a ransom of two hundred dollars for their return, according to Newshub.

The Stuffed Herald has undertaken an investigation in order to discover the real reason e-transport devices are being snatched from the streets, and to many New Zealanders, the answer may not come as a surprise .

In Newshub’s article, Auckland Towing claims that they are taking the electric scooters and bikes at the behest of “their clients” and that the uplifts are “totally legal”.

Photo credit: Supplied (Via Newshub)

However, our Herald spoke to a former employee of Auckland Towing, who has given us a very different picture.

“Towing jobs are down,” said our whistleblower. “It also takes time to connect up a standard vehicle to the truck and drag it away, and you can only tow away one at a time.”

“E-scooters and bikes are different because they can be uplifted quickly and easily, so the towie can make a quick getaway.”

“Plus, because they are so small, it is possible to fit half a dozen in the truck before returning to the depot.”

When our Herald asked the whistleblower why the company has started targeting Lime’s products, he said, “It’s all about the earn.”

“Step one – collect e-scooters. Step two – uhh, they haven’t figured that out yet. Step three – profit. See?”

“The guys collecting the scooters are known in the company as the e-scooter gnomes. Their directive is to cruise the streets looking for unused scooters and grab as many as possible.”

“The clients are just a convenient scapegoat.”

When asked whether he thinks Auckland Towing will successfully extract money from Lime, our whistleblower did not know.

“It’s worth a try, I guess. If the boss can make it stand, he’ll make a lot of money.”

It is not yet known whether Lime plans to take action against Auckland Towing in order to recover their property, or if they will be able to stop the e-scooter gnomes from continuing their crusade.

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