By Jim Melwert, Mike DeNardo, Jericka Duncan and Nicole Brewer
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mayfair residents woke up to an all-too-familiar scene Tuesday morning: slashed tires. At least seven vehicles were vandalized overnight.
Residents have set up a neighborhood watch and police have added extra patrols in the neighborhood. But despite all that, the latest slashings — along the 4000 block of Teesdale and Aldine Streets — were discovered around midnight as police were switching shifts, so there were fewer police on the streets at the time.
Now, the City of Philadelphia and the Fraternal Order of Police are offering rewards for information leading to an arrest.
Earlier, two residents reported seeing two men along the street just before the incident happened. Police have not yet made any arrests.
Some neighbors said they’ve had to replace several sets of tires.
“I sold my truck because I couldn’t afford the tires. It’s $211 a tire. I sold my truck and as soon as I got my new car, which is across the street, they flattened the tire,” one neighbor explained.
In February alone, more than 30 car owners had their tires slashed, and some of the cars were damaged with spray paint.
You could hear the anger and frustration in the voices of residents. Anthony Haynesworth, who lives on Aldine Street, said the fact that it is so senseless makes it even more frustrating.
“What could they possibly get out of this? A couple of blocks over on Marple Street, they’re taking the wheels off the cars and leaving them up on cinderblocks. That I can see — you’re at least getting something. You aren’t getting anything out of this. You’re just costing people money.”
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said he sympathizes with the victims.
“It is irritating,” he said. “This is the fourth time we’ve had it happen somewhere in the city. This neighborhood has been hit more than once. And it’s very expensive. I mean, even if you had the cheapest set of tires you can find, you’d be spending five or six hundred dollars. So who can afford to do that? And it makes absolutely no sense. It’s just vicious. They’re just slashing the tires, not trying to steal them. It just makes absolutely no sense.”
Ramsey said, from a policing perspective, this is very frustrating.
“But what we need now is a tip. There’s somebody who knows something out here and we need to know who that is so we can find the people responsible for doing this. It just cannot continue.”
And police are hoping some reward money will help them catch the vandal or vandals.
The city has posted $2,500 in reward money, and Fraternal Order of Police president John McNesby says the FOP is putting up $5,000 more.
“This is just a basic quality-of-life crime,” he said, “with people every day going to work. I mean, you don’t want to get up every day and see damage to your car over and over again.”
Capt. Jack McGinnis says he thought at first that the vandal might stop on his own. But now, he says, he believes he’ll strike again.
Some neighbors have said that whoever is responsible for this better hope the cops catch them before neighbors do, because the anger has reached a boiling point.
But Commissioner Ramsey said police don’t want neighbors making vigilante justice:
“What we don’t want is for people to take the law into their own hands. I understand how frustrated they are, and it would certainly make you feel like you want to do that, but I don’t want to see anybody get in trouble over something like that. So, work with us, and let’s work together and find the people — not only have them arrested and prosecuted but also see to it that they have to pay restitution. People should not have to be paying out-of-pocket for these ignorants doing something like this.”