When Timothy Sweat woke up for his bike ride the morning of Aug. 17, he saw one of the tires of a vehicle in the parking lot of his condo complex had been slashed.
Then, Sweat, who lives at Wilton Place on Northeast 26 Avenue behind the Texaco on Wilton Drive, noticed his own car had a tire slashed. That’s when he knew it wasn’t just a lover’s quarrel or another isolated incident. According to the police report, 12 vehicles had been vandalized resulting in over $1,000 in damage. The tires were slashed sometime the night before.
Every car in his building had been hit as well as many others in the surrounding neighborhood. “OK, I guess we got to get the cops,” he said after realizing the extent of the vandalism.
Sweat has lived at Wilton Place for four years. He said this is the first time something like this has happened. “It’s a nice quiet building with professionals. We were kind of shocked.”
Asked if he feels less safe after the vandalism, he responded, “I feel pissed off.”
He also feels it was a hate crime.
“If you can figure out why an individual would do this for no reason I would gladly listen. I would say it is hate related or a very sick man. Either way, we are thankful he did not have a gun instead.”
Chief Paul O’Connell said it’s too early for his department to declare the vandalism a hate crime. Once more evidence is found or the suspect is caught, then, he said, they will be in a better position to determine motive.
Sweat said a surveillance camera on a nearby home recorded a white male in his 30s or 40s committing the crime.
Sweat said he’s asked his condo board to put in security cameras and offered to help pay for them if needed.
Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477 or the Wilton Manors Police Department at 954-390-2150.