A domestic terrorist is on the loose in the Riverview neighborhood of Hillsborough County, Florida. For the past two years, someone has been scattering nails around a particular stretch of road. “It’s a nightmare that just won’t end,” Dennis Labrie complains.
Residents are furious after the hundreds of dollars spent on tire repair, especially since it’s been happening for two entire years. Already in 2020, nails were discovered on the roadway in front of Riverview Elementary School, the vandal’s favorite target.
Those living in the area are certain they know who the perpetrator is but so far nobody has been able to catch them in the act. Most of those on Hannaway drive have video cameras. “If they could just catch him with a pile of nails in his hand I would love it,” one homeowner relates. “Or a witness seeing him do it, that would be awesome.”
The sheriff’s office says “they are aware of the concerns” but the residents are on their own. Local news outlets following the story for more than a year talked to county officials, who advise the reporters to “open a service request for the county to come investigate.” The school district is also involved because the problem affects the school directly. “When they can they have someone from the school’s administration use a metal tool to help pick up the nails.”
This isn’t an isolated incident either. In the past two years there have been a growing number of similar incidents reported all across America.
Last month, an Oklahoma City news station reported one metro neighborhood had been having the same problem since April. “Probably once a week or so somebody picks up a handful of nails. I picked up at least 100 nails on the corner of 137th and Drexel,” Kirk Maynord told reporters. All of the nails were scattered in the vicinity of a housing community called “The Legacy.”
There too, residents contacted police about the problem. “There is really nothing they can do without any evidence, without pictures of the automobile,” said Maynord.
Last month, a Nutley, New Jersey man was arrested for throwing nail embedded snowballs onto the roadway from his vehicle. Not only did each ball of fluffy snow disguise a handful of nails and screws, they had been wired together so that one would always point up. That guarantees tire damage. Police believe that 54-year-old Adrian Sanchez, of Clifton, was responsible for “multiple incidents of camouflaged nails and screws wired together since August.”
Police Director Alphonse Petracco was sure to point out that throwing nails and screws in the road might seems minor but it could have been extremely dangerous. Especially, if it caused a blow out and crash.
In Big Lake, Minneapolis, several vehicles were damaged by screws and nails spread on roads in Sherburne County last August.
Unlike all the other cases, where the police leave the detective work up to the victims, the police in one city actually did their jobs. Oregon City, Oregon was home to the “nighttime nailer,” until local police took an active role. They did a stake out and caught Bret Michael Wilson in the act.
— KOIN News (@KOINNews) October 1, 2019
“We had figured out a time and location that was consistent and in a dark area of these streets. He was very calculated in what he was doing,” explains Captain Shaun Davis. “When a car comes down and windows are down and all of a sudden he throw nails out, we want to catch him. The officer was a little shocked he was actually watching this happen.”
He admitted to throwing nails more than 50 times. When he was arrested, Wilson had “a plastic tub full of new roofing nails about an inch long in his car.”