Buffalo tire shops see surge in tires punctured by nails

- Local tire shops in Buffalo, Minnesota started noticing a surge in flat tires late this spring and now they think they know why.

Ashley Helberg didn't think it was unusual when she discovered a nail in one of her tires back in May, but when she found two more in her back tires about a month later she knew something was wrong.

“I think it’s kind of crazy,” said Helberg. “All the high schoolers drive this road every day. My sister’s bus rides this road every day. I think it’s scary overall.”

Buffalo police say at least 10 people have reported finding 1.5-inch nails with washers on the end in their tires since May. Investigators believe someone has been deliberately throwing them along a stretch of Pulaski Road on the south side of Lake Pulaski because they're upset some drivers speed through the S-curve in the road.

“If someone thought we were going too fast, there's other ways to tell the community to slow down,” said Helberg. “Not put nails in the road, especially that close to the lake. That’s just horrible.”

Workers at two local tire shops say together they've pulled more than 200 masonry nails from customers’ tires over the last six months.

“I was shocked,” said Mike Nix of the Lake Region Co-op. “I couldn't believe it. We were getting five or six at a time for a bit. I can't turn anyone away for a flat on the side of the road. People got madder and madder as the summer went on.”

Helberg says the crime is particularly reprehensible because someone could blow a tire and end up in the lake. 

“I hope whoever did it sees how much it has impacted the community and how much of an inconvenience it was for everybody and think of the lives he could have endangered,” she said.

Investigators say they believe they know who is doing this and that person could face charges of criminal damage to property. In the meantime, Buffalo police are asking anyone who may have been a victim to contact them for possible restitution for any repairs or new tires in the future.

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