This post has been updated.
Have you seen this man?
The video above, obtained by Philadelphia vlogger Jesse Wellens, appears to show the violent death of the hitchhiking robot hitchBOT. Designed by researchers in Canada, it had been traveling down the east coast of the US when it was brutally attacked and decapitated on Aug. 1 in Philadelphia. The robot had previously made it safely across Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands, but it was no match for one inexplicably angry Philadelphian.
The video shows a male of average height wearing what appears to be a Philadelphia Eagles jersey (#12, Randall Cunningham, a quarterback for the NFL team in the 1980s and early 1990s). He discards one of the poor droid’s severed legs before returning to its remains to ferociously stomp on them.
The timestamp on the security footage shows that it was captured at 5:46am. As of Monday morning (Aug. 3) hitchBOT’s owners had not filed a police report, nor were Philadelphia police investigating the incident. It’s unclear if they will do so now that video evidence has emerged.
We can only hope that this ruffian will be brought to justice. We’re sorry Philadelphia destroyed you. If nothing else, hitchBOT will live on in our hearts forever. Idiots like this man are the reason why we can’t have nice, trusting robots.
Update (Aug. 5): It’s more than likely that hitchBOT’s demise was part of a prank pulled by Wellens and his accomplice, Ed Bassmaster, another YouTube personality from Philadelphia. The “security footage” appears to be faked by the pair. One of Bassmaster’s many characters is “Always Teste,” who frequently wears a green #12 Eagles jersey. It’s still not clear, however, if the two actually destroyed hitchBOT or merely found him that way (though that seems unlikely). Prank or no prank, hitchBOT is still dead.