Dozens of tires slashed on state-owned vehicles
Jan 03, 2013 (Mail Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Vandals slashed the tires on 33 Oregon Department of Health & Human Services vehicles this week, Medford police reported.
The vehicles are used by employees of the department's child welfare and self-sufficiency divisions, with a majority of the damage done to cars used by child-welfare employees. Vandals slashed a single tire on each vehicle, causing a total of about $3,300 in damage, police said.
"It was probably done with something similar to a pocketknife," Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said. "It was a stab into the side wall, which is not repairable."
All the tires will need to be replaced.
DHS employees arriving at work Wednesday at 909 Royal Court discovered and reported the incident to Medford police. Police suspect that the incident occurred sometime over the New Year's holiday between Dec. 31 and Jan. 2, but do not have a specific date or time nailed down.
The vehicles are parked in an unsecured parking lot that is not monitored by video cameras.
"Hopefully that'll change in the future," Budreau said, adding the department is still having tires replaced today. "It certainly caused an inconvenience."
DHS Child Welfare deals with the safety and well-being of youth coming from homes where sexual abuse, drug abuse and domestic violence is suspected.
"Sometimes they have to take children into protective custody. That's when you see emotions go high for obvious reasons," Budreau said.
He added the suspect or suspects could have reacted in response to a child being taken into department custody.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there is something to that," he said.
There are no suspects in the case. Anyone with information about the case should call the Medford Police Criminal Investigations Division at 541-774-2230 or Crime Stoppers of Southern Oregon at 1-800-850-0580.
Through Crime Stoppers, Mercedes-Benz of Medford will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and filing of charges. Callers can remain anonymous.
-- Ryan Pfeil
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