MONETT, Mo. -- Police in Monett say they believe they've solved a tire-slashing crime spree in their small town that's costing residents a lot of money and time.
John Ricketts returned home to his quiet Monett neighborhood this past week to discover that three of his four truck tires had puncture marks just below the tread and would have to be replaced at a cost of around $1,200 dollars, not counting the towing.
Soon he heard that the same thing was happening not only in his neighborhood, but randomly all across town. The tire slashers even hit cars at the local Walmart on the main drag of Highway 60 but, according to Monett police chief George Daoud, "we had a higher concentration in residential areas where they would just go down the roadway and slash tires on both sides of the road."
"And what we found out," he continued, "is that we have about 59 vehicles that were damaged and somewhere in the neighborhood of about 100 tires. The dollar amount is exceeding $10,400 and we're continuing to receive more reports as of today."
"This is a big impact on this community," Ricketts added. "I would just like to know why. And unfortunately there's some elderly (people) out there I saw at Walmart that were like, 'I've got have medicine but I can't now because of this.' It's costing people a lot of money."
100 tires slashed is a lot for a city the size of Springfield much less small town Monett and its 8,800 residents. And even though it did not involve a loss of life, the Monett police made it a high priority.
"It's very unusual," chief Daoud said. "And we can't have this many victims and this many people inconvenienced in our community for no apparent good reason."
And that police work has paid off. As authorities issued a photo of a white Silverado truck used by the suspects and say they've already identified seven people that may be charged as early as tomorrow.
"We have three adult suspects currently and four juvenile suspects," chief Daoud said. "They were not from Monett and that surprised me a little bit. I would have thought they would have been homegrown people but they were from a very near vicinity."
Considering the suspects were from out of town, we asked the chief if maybe the motive had something to do with a sports or town rivalry of some kind. But he doesn't think so.
"There might have been one vehicle where they had a personal vendetta," he replied. "But the rest of them is because it was a crime of opportunity. So we just happened to be the place they came through and decided to do this and this is the place they're going to get caught."
Daoud added that no cars were broken into and that if anyone in the Barry or Lawrence County area has had their tires slashed, they should call their local law enforcement agency as it might be connected to this current group of suspects.