Vandals take air out of neighborhood
By LE ROY STANDISH
In the days of the old West, the residents of this quiet and genteel Orchard Mesa neighborhood would have saddled up a posse and hit the dusty trail in pursuit of those who done ’em wrong.
Instead, Bryan Ingram and his 21st century neighbors swallowed their frustration Sunday morning and dialed 911.
“I told the cops, ‘You better find them before I do,’ ” said Ingram, a resident of West Danbury Court, south of Oxford Avenue.
Sometime before sunrise on Sunday, two tires on his 2002 Yukon Denali were punctured. A fence of his was torn down, and all his roommates’ vehicles also had their tires punctured.
According to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, “approximately 50 cars had tires slashed and ruined” by vandals. The area of destruction is bordered by Arlington Drive and Lynwood Street to the east and west and Oxford Avenue and B Road on the north and south. The crimes occurred sometime in the early morning hours between 3 and 6 a.m., deputies said.
“When it is hard times, you can’t be going out and slashing our tires,” said one of Ingram’s roommates, Chase Murchison, who owns a 1998 Dodge pickup. Murchison said all four of his tires were flattened. He estimated a replacement set of rubber will cost him $2,600.
Besides the damaged tires, residents also found freshly spray-painted graffiti on a fence in the neighborhood. Deputies are not certain that it is related to the flattened tires.
“It was graffiti that homeowners had not seen previously,” said Chuck Warner, an investigator with the Sheriff’s Department.
On East Hanover Circle, north of Oxford Avenue, Eric Hill also had four tires to replace, two on each of the trucks he owns. He estimated his loss at $1,000, but he’d have to wait until today to learn the true price tag.
“The tire shops are closed on Sunday,” he said.
Across the street, between one residence with a family sedan up on a jack and another house with three vehicles in the driveway listing to one side or the other, Mike Sultes spent his Sunday putting plugs in three tires. He suspected the vandalism was intentional and, given the discovery of graffiti, perhaps gang-related.
“It was definitely something territorial,” he said. “They stayed in a certain area.”
Because it was raining Sunday night, the Sulteses, like many of their neighbors, kept their dogs inside the house. Otherwise, he said, the dogs probably would have barked and alerted the neighborhood to the mischief.
“I wish myself and my neighbors across the street would have seen them. I know what I would have liked to do,” Sultes said. “It was just mean-spirited is what it was.”
Deputies suspect more than one person carried out the crimes.
“Maybe three or four (perpetrators),” Warner said.
All the tires were punctured in their sidewalls. Some residents said deputies recovered a knife or an object that may have been used to puncture the tires.
“There was evidence that was found,” Warner said.
Because it is an active investigation he would not say precisely what deputies recovered.