LAKEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police are investigating an unprecedented number of tire slashings.
They said a man damaged over 50 cars this weekend in a predominately Orthodox Jewish community, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported Sunday.
When Yitzchak Katz first woke up Saturday morning to four slashed tires, he knew a vandal targeted him.
But as he walked down Marlin Street, it became apparent this was not a random attack.
“As I was walking down the block, it was only the Jewish houses that the tires were slashed. That was it. It was pretty obvious,” Katz said.
Surveillance video shows the hooded man in action. He can be seen working quickly, puncturing four tires in one driveway in a matter of seconds. Neighbors said, in total, he slashed more than 150 tires on 56 cars.
Neighbors said all of the victims, it turned out, were Orthodox Jewish families.
“I don’t want it to be pushed under the rug. This is a hate crime, no matter which way you push it,” Mordechai Yormark said.
Police officers agree, and are now investigating the slashing as a bias crime.
“People stayed up until 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock in the morning, nervous that their cars that weren’t hit the night before will now get slashed,” victim Vitzy Weil said.
Police believe the suspect may have struck before. Just last week, more than a dozen tires were slashed near an intersection. In those cases, all the cars also belonged to Jewish families.
“He didn’t even get anything out of it. All he did was just damage other people’s property. It’s one thing if he stole something, because that means he got something. But this is like, this is just beyond comprehension,” Katz said.
As of Sunday night, much of the community was still paralyzed as victims waited for mechanics. They’re also working with police, compiling videos, to construct a clearer timeline to identify the suspect.
Police told CBS2 the community is offering a $2,000 reward for anyone who can identify the suspect.