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[whitespace] Vandals leaving residents flat

Cupertino--Investigators are searching for vandals who punctured tires on more than 30 cars in Cupertino during the last three months.

One or more suspects with ice picks or other sharp objects have slashed tires on 33 cars since Dec. 3. Santa Clara County Sheriff's Detective Carl Neusel said most of the cars had all four tires pierced. Investigators estimated damages between $5,000 and $10,000.

There isn't much evidence to go on, so far, and deputies said they don't have a description for whom they're looking.

"We have absolutely no suspect information," Neusel said.

Almost half of the punctures were reported at City Hall and the library on the same night. Victims reported eleven punctures at the Cupertino Library during the evening of Feb. 26. Tires on a city-owned van and two code enforcement patrol cars were flattened in the parking lot behind City Hall that same night.

Victims reported other incidents at various locations, including Marina Foods on Alves Drive, in front of PW Supermarket on Homestead Road, Quinlan Community Center, Torre Plaza and The Oaks.

The vandals usually strike in the late afternoon or late evening, Neusel said.

The first three punctures occurred Dec. 3 at Marina Foods. After one of that store's employees had his tires punctured, store manager I Hao picked up the cost for a set of new tires for the car. "He's worked here a long time--almost ten years--and it's almost like he's family," Hao said.

Cupertino usually averages one or two tire punctures a month, and those incidents usually occur in residential areas, said Sgt. Steve Angus, the city's community resource officer.

Neusel said residents should keep an eye out for anything suspicious and call 911 if they spot anyone suspicious loitering around a parking lot. "There isn't really much you can do in a situation like this," he said.

Anyone with information about the tire punctures should contact Neusel at 408.867.9715 ext. 253.
Jeff Kearns

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