Full credit to Jared Shelly and Jamie Lynch who called this basically from the beginning: It looks like someone did, in fact, murder the HitchBOT, but that surveillance footage was faked. According to YouTube user PrankvsPrank, he came up with the fake video idea along with fellow YouTube celebrity – ugh, please make it stop – Ed Bassmaster:
“Before the death of Hitchbot, I was the last person to experience the hitchhiking experiment. It was handed off to me and Ed in Philly on top of the Rocky Steps at Art Museum. At that point, I did not know much about the Robot except that he had a bucket list to visit famous landmarks around the United States … I sat him on a bench in the historically known oldest residential street of Philadelphia, Elfreth’s Alley. I waited there for awhile, but no one had come for Hitchbot, so I left him to continue his hitchhiking journey on his own.
The next day, the terrible news was reported that Hitchbot had been vandalized and completely destroyed. News reporters and Anchors from various news stations were reaching out to me to hear about his last moments alive, so Ed and I decided to do an interview, but to prank the news during the interview as Ed’s character “Always Teste.”
We were upset about the vandalism of Hitchbot and went in search to find any Surveillance footage of the area that may have existed, so we could find out who the killer was! We had no luck, and then the idea sparked for us to create fake surveillance footage of “Always Teste,” Ed’s character and PRANK THE NEWS!! We bought similar parts and rebuilt the arms of the robot to utilize in the surveillance video. We placed a camera at the scene where Hitchbot was last seen and where his remains were found.
I edited the video to look like a true “surveillance video” and I sent it off to the news because they had all been asking me for interviews and information … We wanted to raise awareness of the situation and all of the negativity that was now being associated with Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, and for people to realize that all Philadelphians are not bad people. I reached out to the creator of Hitchbot, David Harris Smith, to see if he had or would like to setup a gofund me account, or kickstarter to rebuild a newer, better Hitchbot himself, with HIS TRUE creators.”
Right. He faked surveillance video to make himself more YouTube famous – again, UGH – I mean, uh, because he “wanted to raise awareness of the situation and all of the negativity that was now being associated with Philadelphia.” You know, show Philadelphians aren’t bad by piggybacking on an actual robot murder with security footage of a fake robot murder. This is the world we now live it, and it’s confusing and I don’t like it.