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Vandals hit more than 80 vehicles

Modified: Sunday, Feb 3rd, 2013

An Orchard Lane resident in Soquel changes a flat tire early Sunday on his car after Vandals slashed the tires of about 60 vehicles in Soquel and Aptos. Note the Honda in the photo has two flat tires. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian).

APTOS — Vandals slashed the tires of more than 80 vehicles early Sunday in Soquel and Aptos, leaving scores of residents along Orchard Lane, Fairway Drive, Golf Drive, Monterey Avenue, Entrance Drive and elsewhere to begin their day with the discovery that their tires were flat.

Some residents, who were on their way out to fetch the morning newspaper in their driveways, stood in disbelief in their bathrobes as they surveyed the damage.

“What the hell is this,” one man barked as he realized his car and his girlfriend’s car had flat tires on Hardin Way.

California Highway Patrol officer Chris Micheels said the discovery of the slashings coincided with another bizarre incident. Approximately 6:30 a.m. two men wearing black hooded sweatshirts lurched from the shrubbery along northbound Highway 1 near the end of Orchard Lane. One of them heaved a large river rock straight through the windshield of a northbound vehicle traveling about 60 mph. The rock sailed through the white Chrysler and nearly crashed out the rear window, Micheels said.

As CHP officers, deputies from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, and Capitola Police began searching the area, Micheels said he discovered two large river rocks on Orchard Lane that had apparently been dislodged from the landscaping of a home. Then he said he spotted the rash of flat tires along Orchard.

“By 7 a.m. I have counted more than 30 vehicles that have flat tires,” Micheels said. “Some of them have more than one flat.”

Some of the vehicles, which ranged from high-end SUVs and sports cars to Mini Coopers, Toyotas and Hondas and even a landscaping trailer had punctured tires. Almost all of them had a small half-inch slit in the sidewall, meaning the tires would most likely have to be replaced instead of being repaired.

“I’ve lived in this area 24 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Orchard Lane resident Bill Yeo. “I came out here this morning and I see my neighbor changing his tire. Then I see another car with a flat. Then I see my truck has a flat. I was just heading out to buy football food. This neighborhood is always quiet and nothing like this happens. We all know each other and help each other out.”

Another Orchard Lane resident came outdoors to see what the excitement was when he spotted several patrol cars. Then he realized two tires on his Subaru wagon were flat.

“I was just going out to get breakfast,” he said. “Now what? I was hoping to drive over to a Super Bowl party today.”

Joey Martinez of Rossi’s Body Shop and Towing had his hands full throughout the morning changing tires. By 11 a.m. he said he had helped citizens change about a dozen tires.

“They just keep walking up to me and asking if they can be next,” Martinez said. “I’m going to be out here a while, I can see that.”

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