Police nab teens in rash of tire slashings | ParkRecord.com

Police nab teens in rash of tire slashings

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Park City Police Department investigators, working unnamed sources as they hunted for suspects in the recent spate of slashed tires in Park Meadows, nabbed four Park City teenagers last weekend who, they say, are responsible for the damage.

Rick Ryan, a Police Department captain, said the four boys are 13 years old or 14 years old. They live in Park Meadows, and they are all in the eighth grade at Treasure Mountain International School, according to Ryan.

The police refuse to release their names because they are juveniles. The police expect to refer them to juvenile court, which is the underage equivalent of charging them in the cases.

Ryan said prosecutors will determine which counts the four will face, and Ryan hopes they are brought up on counts of criminal mischief. He prefers the counts are second-degree felonies.

In adult court, a conviction on a second-degree felony is punishable by between 1 and 15 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.

Ryan said investigators talked to unnamed sources who led the authorities to one of the juveniles. That person confessed and implicated the other three, Ryan said.

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"There’s kids that make bad choices out there. This was a bad choice that caught up to them," Ryan said.

Car owners in Park Meadows in early February suffered widespread damage after the tires were attacked. The police initially said 34 reports of tire slashings were filed, and more were reported after the first ones were publicized. The Police Department estimated combined damage at more than $13,000.

Ryan did not discuss details like what sort of object they used to slash the tires and whether the victims were targeted for a reason or were randomly selected.

"This one was just being destructive," Ryan said.

The police moved quickly against the teens on Monday. Earlier in the day, Ryan had told The Park Record the police continued to talk to potential witnesses, and he had said he was "very hopeful" of catching someone.

The police last week continued to receive complaints of slashed tires, with a person on Lucky John Drive reporting both tires on the driver’s side of a Ford truck being slashed. The case occurred the week before, the police were told, but the person did not report it to the police until media reports about the rash of slashings.

Reports last week also came from Lucky John Drive and Fairway Village Drive.

"It’s generally a pretty good neighborhood. I think everybody is surprised . . . I don’t expect this to happen," Russell Wong, who lives in Park Meadows and is a victim, said before the police caught the four suspects.

One of his vehicles suffered two slashed tires in the attacks, Wong said. He discovered the damage after seeing police vehicles and tow trucks on neighborhood streets.

Some of the victims took the damaged tires to Burt Bros Tire & Service, where manager Tom Pickney reported a knife with a blade between .5 and .75 inches wide was likely used. He said the cases are "very deliberate puncturing."

"They’ve clearly been slashed with a knife or sharp object," Pickney said, describing the tires that were brought to the store as suffering one puncture per tire.

Through the first round of damage, Pickney said, Burt Bros replaced about 40 damaged tires. Each replacement tire cost the car owner about $80, he said.

"It’s cost a lot of people a lot of money," he said.

Park City Councilwoman Candy Erickson, who lives on Little Kate Road in Park Meadows, said it is surprising that the suspects are teens from the neighborhood. She said she expected people from elsewhere would be found responsible. She said she is "stunned" the suspects are from Park Meadows.

Erickson wondered if they were raised elsewhere, in a place where vandalism is more common.

"Where’d you get the idea? Where did that come from? How do we stop it?" she said.