French tyre-slasher busted for slashing tyres on over 6,000 cars


French tyre-slasher busted for slashing tyres on over 6,000 cars

French tyre-slasher busted for slashing tyres on over 6,000 cars

After years of playing cat-and-mouse with French police, a brazen tyre slasher who punctured the tyres of thousands of cars around the south-western French city of Bordeaux has finally been caught.

The 45-year-old man was arrested last week after a six-year campaign of vandalism. He planned his tyre puncture trips with the precision of a thief preparing a bank heist.

The man, who has yet to be named, told police he acted in anger against society.

He has slashed up to 70 tyres a night since 2011, choosing neighbourhoods at random around the port city to stay one step ahead of the police.

The unemployed vandal has given himself the nickname, “serial puncturer”. He managed to vandalise 6,000 cars around the French wine capital. The French police have said as well that this figure of 6,000 vehicles is very “credible”.

Investigators breathed a “huge sigh of relief” following the capture of a suspect. They have been chasing the tyre slasher since 2014, only after they realised that they were dealing with a serial offender.

Their task was made all the more difficult as the serial vandal left no DNA evidence and stealthily avoiding CCTV cameras, keeping deliberately irregular hours and routes to throw them off the scent.

What's more, he often punctured the tyres gently so that they deflated slowly, making it even harder to track his movements. Bordeaux prosecutor Marie-Madeleine Alliot said:

“It might seem like something to laugh about,” But it was no laughing matter for residents who woke up to find their tyres slashed — or for authorities who were handed 1,100 complaints, including from one hapless motorist who was hit six times.

French tyre-slasher busted for slashing tyres on over 6,000 cars

The culprit meticulously planned his targets in a notebook in which he included details of CCTV cameras to avoid and scheduling his exploits all the way up to December next year.

He even wrote in code, inverting house numbers to confuse potential readers. Nicolas Perez, the police officer leading the inquiry said, he would set off under the cover of darkness, often striking between 2:00 am and 5:00 am before taking the first tram home.

He was finally apprehended after a photo was taken of him by a resident which finally allowed police to catch up with him and leading to his arrest. After his arrest, he quickly admitted to his crime spree.

The full motives of the tyre puncturer, who has no criminal record, have yet to be unravelled. But initial inquiries suggested an “obsessive and solitary personality”, Alliot said. Police said he expressed bitterness towards society and a desire for “revenge” after being mistreated as a child.

He appears to have been inspired by a cobbler's puncturing tool he found in the street in 2011. “He wanted to be noticed, to feel like he was being heard,” said deputy prosecutor Jean-Claude Belot, noting that the puncturer enjoyed reading press coverage of his antics.

He has been charged with wilful damage to private property for which he could face up to two years in jail and a 300,000-euro (US$357,000) fine. He will go on trial from May 18, 2018.