Over a 48-hour period, vandals slash dozens of tires in Oakland and Berkeley
on September 2, 2011
Over the last 48 hours, somebody has slashed the tires on more than 70 cars along California Street, which crosses from South Berkeley into North Oakland, according to the Berkeley Police Department. The damage reports have spanned 17 blocks from 62nd to Blake Streets, and other tire slashings were also reported on Julia Street, Russell Street, and King Street.
Sixty-one cars in Berkeley and 13 cars in Oakland have been reported vandalized.
According to a Berkeley Police Department press release issued on Wednesday, an unknown weapon or tool was used to flatten one or two tires on each vehicle. Berkeley Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss wrote in a press statement that the only pattern connecting the damaged cars is the geographic location of where they were parked.
“Community members were understandably upset, angered, surprised and frustrated by the discovery of these crimes as it had and has significant impacts on their lifestyles such as driving children to school, going to work, transporting family members to appointments and driving to care for older parents or family members,” said Kusmiss in her statement.
According to Kusmiss, tow trucks were called to assist residents while other neighbors changed their own tires and helped neighbors with theirs. However, some community members were forced to keep their vehicles parked until they could afford replacement parts, and other neighbors did not find out about the damage until they returned from their vacations.
As of Thursday evening, “BPD has not made arrests and motive for all the crimes is unknown,” wrote Kusmiss of the ongoing investigation.
That hasn’t stopped neighbors from speculating about who might be behind the tire slashings, or what their motive might be.
“It’s either gang initiation or a person a mental issue to do something like this,” said Barry Forgione, a resident of the area for 31 years whose car was vandalized.
Forgione said that the police reviewed the tapes from a surveillance camera located in the neighborhood, but did not see anything that would help them with their investigation.
Sofia Zander, a resident since 2003, whose car was also damaged, was frustrated that someone had taken the time to commit such a crime. “Almost every car was hit on our block except two or three,” said Zander. “This is unfortunate because not many of us can afford to go out and purchase new tires.“
However, Zander said that it was refreshing to see residents of the community coming out to help each other change tires.
The Berkeley Police Department is encouraging witnesses or any person with information to call the department’s non-emergency dispatch line at (510) 981-5900. To give anonymous tips to Bay Area Crime Stoppers please call 1 (800) 222-TIPS (8477).
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