A spree of tire-slashings in a Bronx community prompted residents to call for a meeting with police and local officials Wednesday, the fourth straight day neighbors have woken up to find their tires damaged.
Captain Philip Rivera of the 41st Precinct told concerned Mott Haven residents that he was increasing patrols through the overnight hours.
"We understand the difficulty of it," he said. "What we need for the community is vigilance. The community's participation would be invaluable."
Investigators may have gotten a break with new surveillance video of the alleged tire-slasher: a camera at a local laundromat captured the suspect in action at 4 a.m. Wednesday.
The victim whose car was targeted in the video was at the meeting Wednesday and said when she saw the video, she was "livid."
"I could not believe the audacity of this man to come into this community -- and he wasn't even scared, he was just moving around very easily," said Caryn Smalls. "It's just infuriating. We work very hard to acquire what we have and maintain it. And for someone to come in, I feel very violated."
Another victim said he's had to pay $400 for new tires and is now shelling out an extra $125 a month for lot space "in order to get sleep."
"It's really devastating," said Anthony Ferrer. "I was so upset. It really took the wind out of me."
Ferrer said he felt satisfied with what police said at the meeting Wednesday. "I feel very good, I think they're gonna step up patrols," he said.
Rivera said investigators didn't think teens were behind the slashings. They were looking into speculation that local repair shops or servicemen may be doing it in an effort to boost business, Rivera said.
But Ferrer was doubtful.
"That comes to mind, but so many every night? That overwhelms your business," said Ferrer, who saw four customers come in with slashed tires when he was at the shop. "I don't think they can handle that much business."