Tire slasher still behind bars, 47 cars still being fixed in Cal - | WBTV Charlotte

Tire slasher still behind bars, 47 cars still being fixed in Caldwell County

Couto (Caldwell County Sheriff's Office) Couto (Caldwell County Sheriff's Office)

Lenoir Police on Tuesday released surveillance video showing a man puncturing tires with a knife in the parking lot of the Caldwell County Health and Human Services Building.

Forty-seven cars had their tires flattened early Monday in that parking lot and in front of the Sheriff's Office next door. Most of the vehicles hit were patrol vehicles, DSS cars, or other county-owned vehicles. 

Damage is estimated at more than $30,000, but a final figure could be days away.

"It's a big job," said Dwayne Rhymer of Clark Tire in Lenoir. That business is handling the county vehicles.

Because the sidewalls were punctured in the tires, they cannot be repaired and must be replaced. Many of the sheriff vehicles need special police pursuit tires, and those are significantly more expensive, say officials. 

The man accused of doing it, Carlton Brandon Couto, remains in jail under a bond of $70,000. 

Authorities are not sure why the tires were slashed. Couto was involved in an incident Sunday evening that resulted in deputies being called, but no one was arrested.

Surveillance video from early Monday taken by cameras on the County HHS building shows someone who looks like Couto going from vehicle to vehicle puncturing tires with an object believed to be a knife in his hand. 

At one point, it shows the slasher flattening three tires on one vehicle and starting to walk away. After a short pause, the man turns and goes back to the vehicle and punctures the fourth tire.

He appeared calm throughout the video. Investigators believe he spent at least a half hour at the scene damaging the vehicles.

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