By Jim Melwert, Al Novack, Nicole Brewer, Steve Beck and Diana Rocco
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police have made an arrest in connection to the rash of tire slashings in Northeast Philadelphia; however, investigators believe “several copy-cats” remain on the loose.
The arrest of 22-year-old Quincy Kramer of Englewood Street in Northeast Philadelphia was made Monday. Police officials say Kramer has been charged for his involvement in the slashing of nine tires on the 3200 and 3300 blocks of Cottman Avenue Thursday.
As it stands right now, Kramer has only been charged in the nine tire slashings, but police say they are investigating to see if he is connected to the other slashings.
Over the weekend, police released surveillance video of a man they suspected was responsible in at least some of the vandalism. Captain Jack McGinnis of the Philadelphia Police Department said Kramer was the suspect seen in that video.
McGinnis said a tip call after the video was released by police led to Kramer’s arrest.
When asked why he believed Kramer committed the crime, McGinnis said he (Kramer) “felt like doing something.”
McGinnis said police found two knives, including one that was used in the crime, during a search warrant at Kramer’s home on Monday. In addition, McGinnis said they also found the clothes Kramer was wearing the night of the crime.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says they believe they have enough evidence to charge and prosecute Kramer.
He says the big break in the case came from a phone tip, after they released surveillance video of an incident that happened Thursday.
Ramsey expressed surprise that they were able to make an arrest at all, considering how quickly these crimes happened.
“How quickly he was able to slash that tire. It’s very difficult crime to catch someone actually in the act. I mean, that was literally a matter of seconds — I was actually surprised when I saw how fast this was. It just took very little effort in order to do it. So, hopefully we have the guy, but again, we don’t know if this is a separate incident or if it’s connected to the other slashings that took place,” Ramsey said.
There has been an ongoing problem with vandalism in the Mayfair section of Northeast Philadelphia since October. Dozens of cars have been vandalized — more than 80 tires slashed — since the start.
The vandalism has received a lot of attention since it began, prompting residents to set up a neighborhood watch group. There was even a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.
Capt. McGinnis said he did not believe one person is responsible for all the tire slashings and that there are “several copy-cats” going on at the same time.
Kramer’s arrest came as a big relief to Mayfair residents like David Toledo of Aldine Street, who says he alone has spent more than $2,000 replacing his tires. When he heard over the weekend that police had video of a man they suspect is behind these tire slashings, he says he knew it was only a matter of time.
“With surveillance, you see them actually doing it, so that was a plus. Somebody probably ratted him out — maybe one of his friends.”