VIRGINIA

Tire slashing targets Prius owners in Arlington

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A tire-slashing spree is rattling the nerves of hybrid car owners in Arlington. 14 Toyota Prius vehicles and one Smart Car were targeted in one night.

Many people are calling this a hate crime, and they're puzzled as to why someone would wreak havoc upon fuel-efficient cars over and over again.

Someone started slicing through tire after tire Sunday night and left behind a trail of victims countywide.

“It's just a complete disregard for personal property,” said Arlington resident Rebecca Longsworth. “It's disturbing.”

The crime spree cost her $500. Her two driver’s side tires were flattened.

“Someone’s in front of your house with a knife and that's not what you want to hear,” she said.

Dirty handprints on her car are haunting reminders of what took place. Now she's sharing a few stern words for those picking on Priuses: “It's not what we want in our community [so] just knock it off,” she said.

Arlington County police say they know of at least 16 vehicles hit. None had a single item stolen, but all suffered slashed tires. It varied from one to all four tires hit.

“Arlington County has experienced a series of tire slashing in the past, but never the same make and model vehicle,” said the police department Public Information Officer Dustin Sternbeck.

He says an officer was able to recover one fingerprint from the scene, but still no arrests have been made.

Annie Plotkin is frustrated. Her Prius is in the shop after one of its tires was cut in her driveway.

“It's concerning,” she said. “Last night we were going to take my dog out for a wall [and] I took my pepper spray.”

Other hybrid drivers like Yahawa Thomas worry they'll become the next victims. Thomas drives a fuel-efficient Lexus and says his sense of safety is definitely shaken.

“It makes me insecure about our property that's around and [as for] targeting hybrid[s], I don't really know especially when hybrid is supposed to be in a green nation,” he said.

Police are offering some advice for hybrid drivers:

Park your car inside a garage, if possible, and keep an eye out for anyone suspicious. If something doesn't feel right, call the department’s non-emergency line immediately at (703) 558-2222.

Unfortunately, police can't really up patrols in this case because the crimes weren't concentrated. They took place all over the county.

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