Man slashed tires for 4 years: Police
A Wheaton man slashed the tires of Hispanics in his community for four years in incidents the Montgomery County police said were racially motivated.
One victim's vehicle was vandalized 20 times, forcing him to repeatedly patch the tires, police said. Officers didn't release the name or age of the suspect, who they said is expected to face criminal charges.
Like other parts of southeastern Montgomery, Wheaton has played host to a large influx of Hispanic newcomers in recent years.
Police have identified 19 victims, 18 of whom are Hispanic. Many of them initially were reluctant to report the vandalism. Detectives think there may be more victims, and have urged them to step forward.
Residents with questionable immigration status can be hesitant to speak with officers, despite the Montgomery Police Department's repeated efforts to assure them that they're not interested in the status of victims and witnesses.
"We know that are many reasons that they may be hesitant to talk to us," police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said Wednesday, adding that "no one has to be fearful they will be deported if they come forward to police because they have been a victim or a witness."
The cases go back to March 2006. They occurred in the 1100 block of Amherst Avenue, 11000 block of Burnley Terrace, 8700 block of Piney Branch Road and the 2200 block of Prichard Road, according to police.
Early the morning of Aug. 23, a resident saw the tire-slashing suspect puncturing a neighbor's tires along Burnley Terrace, according to police. Investigators searched the suspect's house and found "evidence related to the vandalisms," police said.
Police urge anyone who may be a victim or has information to call Officer Sharif Hidayat at 240-773-5500.
-- Dan Morse
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