New Hampshire residents outsmart meter maids, get sued by city

The city of Keene, New Hampshire, has 23,000 residents. It has three meter maids, and its police department website still directs people with “information regarding unsolved crimes and wanted persons” to—no shit—its Myspace page. In other words, it’s a sleepy little town.

It’s also the center of a hotly contested uprising by a group of citizens calling themselves “Robin Hood and his Merry Men” who have banded together to launch a war on parking tickets. Their war strategy includes spotting expired meters around town that have yet to receive parking tickets and filling the meters up with quarters before parking enforcement officials can get to them.

It also apparently includes mild stalking and harassment of the Keene’s meter maids. The city is now suing citizens in Robin Hood’s band of merry men over their parking crusade.

Parking enforcement officer officer Linda Desruisseaux is quoted in the lawsuit as saying:

In particular, Graham Colson likes to taunt me by saying, ‘Linda, guess what you’re not going to do today – write tickets.’ … The taunting and harassment tends to get worse when there is a group, as they try to one-up each other at my expense.

Other forms of psychological warfare include following the parking officers and photographing them and filming them on the job. “These individuals repeatedly taunt and harass me, asking why I am stealing peoples’ money and telling me to get another job,” Desruisseaux says.

She also complains of Robin Hood’s crew “crowding around me, making video recordings of my activities, and placing coins in expired meters to prevent me from writing tickets.”

Meter maids must attract more hate on the job than any single other profession. At least regular cops are saving the day some of the time. Parking officers are just ruining days non-stop. It’s their whole job—ruining days. Can you imagine the karma they have stored up? Given how terrible the parking enforcement racket is, it’s amazing we don’t hear about coordinated attempts to thwart them more. Also, it sounds like the “harassment” in Keene could be worse. Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men are known to leave notes on windshields of rescued cars reading “Your meter expired; however, we saved you from the king’s tariffs, Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Please consider paying it forward.” All things considered, it could be worse. It also sounds like a pretty productive way to channel all that parking ticket rage.