|Perth's Wheel Clamp Man in action.|
One of the colorful characters I found in my Real Life Super Hero research was a highly disgruntled British bloke that called himself Angle Grinder Man.
Angle Grinder Man operated in London and Kent (his hometown) and his origin story is simple: he snapped after one too many parking violations. In those cities (and others around the world) you will receive what is known as the "boot" or the "clamp"-- a device attached to the wheel of your car-- if you are parked illegally. You then must pay a hefty fine to have someone come around and unlock the device to free your car.
It is aggravating and many angry motorists think it is a racket.
Enter Angle Grinder Man. He first appeared around 2002 or 03, dressed in blue tights and a gold cape, sporting goggles and revving up a gas powered angle grinder. He set up a hotline for frustrated, wheel clamped citizens and would then rush to their side, sawing through the clamps in a shower of sparks. It took him about 45 seconds to saw through a clamp.
"There are not enough parking spaces for people, and no public transport to speak of," Angle Grinder Man declared in a 2003 television interview. "It's a complete joke and yet instead of us suing the government for shambolic mismanagement, we allow them to take back money from us, the very people they have let down."
In 2005, Angle Grinder Man disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared.
|England's Angle Grinder Man|
But now, almost a decade later and thousands of miles away, a new superhero has taken on Angle Grinder Man's mission. He is Wheel Clamp Man of Perth, on the west coast of Australia.
"I'm helping people out," he told Perth's Sunday Times. "I don't feel like I'm damaging property."
Wheel Clamp Man's costume looks like RLSH meets the Village People. He asks for a donation from motorists he helps and reportedly gives the money to the homeless.
Not surprisingly, Perth police aren't happy. They've encouraged the public to turn over the superhero so they can charge him with criminal damage.
--Report from The Telegraph HERE.