Phillips tire-slashings ruin Christmas

Categories: Crime

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Photo: Alisha Vargas
Tire slashers gift Phillips residents a weary little Christmas.
T'was the week before Christmas when a small group of Phillips residents noticed a disturbing pattern -- repeat tire-slashings, just in time for the holidays.

"That's horrible," says Jean Flugge, who shelled out $400 to fix her car. "It's hard enough at Christmas time with the economy."

Flugge says she had to deal with the vandals's handiwork not once, not twice but thrice.

Flugge says she spent December 20th shoveling out from the blizzard when she noticed one of her tires was flat. She had it repaired without thinking much of it, until the following day when she discovered her mother's car also had two flat tires. Even after she asked her son to try to keep watch over the cars, vandals returned the next night and popped two tires on Flugge's car as well as a spare tire she'd left leaning against a tree.

The Flugges thought they were being targeted until the 23rd when they were stopped by another hapless resident, Phong Nguyen, who asked where he could get some flats fixed.

"They told me, 'Your tires got slashed too?'" says Ngyuen.

The holiday hooligans slashed two of Ngyuen's tires. Around the same time they got yet another woman down the street twice in two nights according to police reports, popping three tires. When Flugge started asking around in the 16th, 17th and 18th Avenue South area near her house, she saw evidence that they were dealing with prolific tire slashers.

"Even down to Franklin Avenue you could see tons of spares," says Flugge.

Flugge says responding officers told her it appeared the tires were being cut with a large blade. Since the slashing all took place at night, none of the victims have been able to provide Minneapolis police with any descriptions.

"Most of the time we don't solve it if we have no suspect information," says police spokesperson William Palmer.

The Flugges shelled out a total of $800 draining their holiday funds, Ngyuen was out $300, and the whole Christmas spirit fell a little bit -- well, flat.

"I didn't get my shopping done," sighs Flugge. "And I did a lot of footwork."

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