MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach Police are seeking the public’s help to locate a vandal who, they and several victims said, slashed tires and smashed windshields of multiple vehicles in a popular section of South Beach.
Residents Claudio Chiorazzi and Samuel Diaz said Monday they were among the car owners who were targeted near 15th Street and Ocean Drive.
“You come out from your house in the morning to go to work, and you find your tires slashed,” Chiorazzi said. “I am very scared because this person has a knife.”
Beyond the damage to his vehicle, Chiorazzi said, the perpetrator has taken away his sense of security. Diaz described the string of incidents as a wave of vandalism.
“It’s happening every single day,” he said.
7News was provided with an internal flyer from the Miami Beach Police Department of a man wanted for questioning in connection to all of the car trouble.
Though he is not a named suspect in the most recent crimes reported in August, police said they want to talk to Michael James Uttard. Detectives said he was arrested after several other cars’ tires were slashed in May.
Surveillance video from a nearby hotel captured the accused vandal with a brick in his hand on Aug. 4.
“Every day, I’m scared that my tires are going to be slashed or my windshield is going to be shattered,” Phoebe Basulto, who works at the hotel, said. “It scares me because I don’t know what he’s capable of.”
Basulto’s boss said he is worried about more attacks on cars belonging to his employees. The employees said the man shattered the windshield of a Mercedes-Benz and has continued to threaten more attacks along with returning to the property, lingering around the area and making scenes in the lobby.
“I really just want this guy off the streets in Miami Beach,” Basulto said.
The hotel employees are not alone, however.
Resident Richard Shaughnessy said his property was also smashed and slashed.
“It’s just costing us thousands and thousands of dollars,” he said. “There’s a guy with a knife and a brick.”
His car windshield remains smashed, and his tires cut and deflated. The neighbors invited 7News to the Drake Building, where several complained about also having their cars vandalized.
“We’ve had a total of 15 tires that have been slashed,” said Shaughnessy.
Neighbors added that the man is known to frequent the area.
If you have any information on these incidents or the vandal’s whereabouts, call Miami Beach Police or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
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