Meet Flexman, the Italian Vigilante Waging War on Speed Cameras

For the past eight months, a mysterious man dubbed ‘Flexman’ by his motorist fans has been disabling speed cameras in several Italian regions by cutting their supporting metal poles with an angle grinder.

The angle grinder was invented in 1954 by a German company called Flex, and even today, in many European countries, the angle grinder is popularly known as a ‘flex’. Little did the creators of this useful tool know that many decades later, the flex would inspire the nickname of a vigilante specializing in disabling speed traps on the roads of Italy by taking an angle grinder to the metal poles supporting them. Flexman first made news headlines in May of last year, when he took down his first speed trap on a road near Bosaro, in Italy’s Rovigo region. Since then, he managed to disable at least seven other cameras in Rovigo and Veneto using his signature angle grinder, and authorities still have no idea who he is or how to stop him.

Photo: Manfred Richter/Pixabay

Flexman carries out his missions in the dead of night, usually between 1 and 2 in the morning, approaching roadside speed cameras and taking an angle grinder to the base of the metal poles supporting them. He has been dubbed ‘the motorists’ vigilante’, and many drivers do see him as a sort of modern Robin Hood fighting against the system, but for authorities, Flexman is nothing more than a menace causing tens of thousands of euros in damages and allegedly making roads less safe.

For Flexman and the people rooting for him, things are pretty simple: too many municipal and provincial administrations have made speed cameras sprout like mushrooms, placing them in the most bizarre places, except where they would actually be needed, more concerned with refilling their own coffers than preventing road accidents.

Mirco Gennari, the provincial coordinator of the local police workers’ union labeled Flexman as a criminal but expressed his hope that his popularity with motorists would make certain administrations reflect on the use and abuse of certain tools, as well as on the correct use of the local police, who deserve better than being relegated to the role of tax collector.

The Italian press reported that Flexman’s exploits in Rovigo and Veneto have inspired similar actions by disgruntled motorists in other parts of Italy, with some opting to blow up speed traps, others pelting them with large rocks, and some copying the vigilante‘s modus operandi.

Article 635 of the Italian Penal Code mentions a prison sentence of six months to three years for anyone who destroys, deteriorates, or makes other people’s property unusable, but in order to enforce this punishment, prosecutors must first analyze the little clues they have to discover Flexman’s true identity. He has become a beacon of hope for Italian motorists, many of whom are frustrated with having to pay hefty speeding tickets.

Flexman is believed to have last hit on the night between 23 and 24 December 2023, when two speed cameras were knocked down on the ring road near the Corso Savona junction, in Asti.


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