Updated: Monday, 26 Apr 2010, 9:53 PM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 20 Apr 2010, 10:21 PM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - New tires, temporary tires and the unfortunate flat ones all line Austin's Hyde Park streets in the week after the neighborhood’s biggest menace struck yet again.
"Bam, bam, bam. As the days went by, more people were saying, 'They got me, they got me, they got me,'" said LaDonne Lloyd.
In the last week, a resident tire slasher preyed upon at least 15 vehicles. Lloyd lost six tires from three different cars, not to mention more than $600 in replacements.
"'[I want to] string him up and quarter him' is what my old folks would say,” Lloyd laughed.
This is the third time it has happened to Lloyd, going on for at least 15 years - as far as neighbors can remember. This year, the tire slasher has been busy. Residents have filed 46 criminal mischief reports so far, and many of those are punctured tires.
"They're completely flat, tires just sitting on their rims, basically," said Patrick Lombeida.
"This is pointless,” said Wade Puckett. “This is just taking random people's stuff and destroying it."
Residents and Austin police said they think they know who is responsible. They often find the same homeless man throughout the years near the scene of the crime. It is possible he punctured several hundred tires throughout this span.
"We don't ever have any evidence to put that person in jail or to charge that person with these crimes,” said Austin Police Department Cpl. Scott Perry.
"He's got a grudge against life in general,” said Lloyd. “Or maybe it's actually this neighborhood."
Police have arrested him twice but only for a few tires. They said it is too tough to link him to more than that, unless people report it.
"Please people report,” Lloyd urged. “Just report, even if you don't think it's anything, it may be."
Lloyd said that with a decade-and-a-half under his belt, the slasher has gotten smart. It might take security cameras, a private investigator or even a very aggressive neighborhood watch.
"I promised everybody I would shimmy up a tree and get a camera and a BB gun, if they let me,” she laughed.
Police and residents said the slasher might have inspired some copycats who think it would be easy to blame it on his work. Neighbors said they believe some other, less frequent culprits could be hazing fraternities or even some Hyde Park teens.