Jul 1, 2013 4:05 PM by Matthew Schwartz
TUCSON - More tacks have been found on bicycle paths in Tucson. So many more that a reward is now being offered for information leading to an arrest in the case.
Damion Alexander is a passionate local cyclist and realtor who had the idea for the reward. He told the News 4 Tucson Investigators that he's found tacks himself and is seeking donations through his Facebook page "The Damion Alexander Team".
Alexander said, "I'd just like to see an end to this before someone gets hurt. I believe if we give a monetary reward, that one of his friends or somebody will have information and is willing to tell us who it is throwing the tacks on there or at the same time if someone becomes aware that there is a large reward out there, that they'll stop."
The News 4 Tucson Investigators first reported on the tack sabotage in early May, after several bicyclists told us they got flat tires. Even while taping our first report, we saw one cyclist who'd just gotten a flat from a tack and took a photo of it. Many cyclists think angry drivers are putting tacks on bike paths as revenge against them.
There has been for years an adversarial relationship among some drivers and bicyclists in Tucson, with previous cases of road rages against cyclists being well documented.
Kathleen Kirk, a bicyclist from Pima County, told us, "Sometimes we cyclists are at fault for hogging the road, so we have to be really mindful about staying no more than two abreast, so it is possible that we annoyed somebody and for that I apologize."
The tacks found in May were predominantly in a three to four mile stretch along Catalina Highway, from Tanque Verde to the base of Mount Lemmon. But recently, for the first time, tacks have been found on bike paths clear across town, at Gates Pass.
Whoever is putting tacks on bike paths probably isn't just throwing them, say from a moving car, because that way they often won't end up with the sharp side up, to cause a flat tire. So the person or persons doing this is probably taking the time to place the tacks on bike paths to make sure the sharp side faces up.
Pima County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Rohrer, himself a cyclist, says the department has received only about a dozen complaints about tacks being found. The bicycling community has instead been complaining about it through social media. Rohrer said, "Somebody could die as a result of having a flat tire from a tack. What we need the cyclists to do is actually report them to the department so that we can keep good track of where exactly these are happening, which is really critical to this investigation.
If you find tacks on a bike path, call the Pima County Sheriff's Department non-emergency number, 520-351-4900. If you would like to contribute to the reward fund, you can call Damion Alexander at 520-977-5664.
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