1 man arrested for slashing tires in Mesa

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Jill Galus

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 7:21 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 10 at 1:14 PM

Map: U.S. 60 and Alma School

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MESA, Ariz. -- Police detained two people suspected of slashing the tires on more than a dozen vehicles overnight but one person has been arrested and one has been released.

The two men were caught early Wednesday morning at the Garden Place Apartments complex on West Isabella Avenue in the area of U.S. 60 and Alma School Road in Mesa.

Police said Nicholas James Rourke, 22, confessed to slashing the tires on numerous vehicles in the apartment complex parking lot. Rourke was intoxicated and told police he did because he was upset about losing some money. Rourke also said he cut his hand on the knife while puncturing the car tires.

Police found a bloody knife believed to be used to slash the tires. The knife was located along the path the suspects took when they ran from police.

A total of 17 vehicles, including one motorcycle had punctured tires.

Investigators believe Rourke randomly chose the vehicles.

Officers said they saw one of the suspects with a 6-inch folding knife in his hand and actually caught him in the act of stabbing a tire.

The 30-year-old man who was detained with Rourke was released pending further investigation.

"In my experience...it's generally for jollies, it's for kicks," Mesa police Lt. Ed Wessing told 3TV's Jill Galus, talking about the perpetrators' motive. "There's really no motive other than to just do it, which is disturbing to us and our victims who are left having to pay for their tires, especially during the holiday season."

"It's unnecessary. I don't see -- especially grown men -- I don't understand why, you know, why they would do this," one of the victims, understandable angry, said.

A tall brick wall surrounds the apartment complex. Police says that was helpful because the suspects had nowhere to run.

Detectives have been investigating a rash of tire slashings in Mesa over the past few weeks.

There were two separate reports of similar incidents in November -- Nov. 11 and Nov. 27 -- about a mile away from the apartments where the two suspects were taken into custody. Police are trying to determine all of the hits might be connected.

If the two suspects are responsible for all three incidents, police say there is a total of about 50 victims.

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