Waterloo police are looking for any information on a spate of tire slashings in Kitchener that all had one thing in common - all the targeted vehicles were SUVs.
An international group known as Tyre Extinguishers appears to be the culprit. In a statement on their website, they take responsibility for flattening the tires of 60 SUVs in multiple locations across the Waterloo Region.
“We are a worldwide direct action environmentalist group with the goal of eliminating SUVs from urban areas,” the statement reads. “We do this with one simple tactic: deflating the tires of these massive, unnecessary vehicles, causing inconvenience for their owners without endangering any lives in the process.”
The website has a listing of other reports of similar incidents from around the world, including Scotland, New Zealand, Sweden and Germany. There is also a section on the website that instructs how to deflate an SUV tire.
Cherri Greeno with Waterloo Regional Police service says police are investigating the incidents and are looking to identify the people who were behind the vandalism. She says they received about 35 reports early Sunday morning, from people who had woken up to deflated tires on their SUVs. Each vehicle had a note left on the windshield, stating “Your gas guzzler kills.”
There were no other reports of damage to the vehicles.
Greeno says despite the group’s intention not to harm anyone, their actions are potentially dangerous.
“Hopefully they find a safer way to get their message across,” she tells Yahoo News Canada. “This could turn into a safety concern if people are getting into their vehicles and not realizing they’re deflated and they drive on it, it could be potentially dangerous.”
Police are now asking for anyone with video evidence of the incidents or suspicious behaviour around that time to upload it to a portal.
We are continuing to investigate after more than 30 SUVs were targeted in the following areas of Kitchener:
▪️Maple Hill Drive
Anyone with video evidence is asked to please upload it here: https://t.co/7CGzcOaSpC. pic.twitter.com/dZvkBfrKzf
— Waterloo Regional Police (@WRPSToday) July 19, 2022
In an email to Yahoo News Canada, an anonymous representative from Tyre Extinguishers said in regards to the police's concerns for safety, most SUVs are fitted with tire pressure sensors that alert the driver when there is a flat.
"Also we leave a leaflet so it's obvious what has happened," they wrote. "We've had no reports of any accidents since we started. What's really dangerous is runaway climate change - that's the danger we're focused on."
The representative added that the group has received a lot of death threats for their actions, as well as a lot of support.