SALINAS (CBS SF) — The California Highway Patrol has made an arrest in its investigation into projectiles launched at vehicles in Monterey and San Benito counties.
The CHP identified the suspect as 53-year-old Charles Lafferty. According to the Monterey County jail website, Lafferty was taken into custody by the CHP on Wednesday and was being held on charges of throwing objects at vehicles, assault with a deadly weapon and possessing a silencer.
“We believe Mr. Lafferty used a slingshot as well as glass marbles to commit these crimes,” said CHP Coastal Division Chief LD Maples.
The CHP has confirmed 69 cases in which driver’s car windows were shattered as they passed through the Highway 101 and Highway 156 area in Northern Monterey County.
The last case on January 5th apparently provided the break investigators were looking for. They identified a suspicious vehicle, a GMC Sonoma pickup, and traced it to residences in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties tied to Lafferty.
Investigators believe he was driving and shooting the slingshot at cars passing in the opposite direction because of how each of the vehicles was hit.
“At this time, it appears the victims were random,” said Capt. Kyle Foster of the CHP Monterey County office. “The locations of the attack did occur on the drivers side and or the front windhield of the vehicles,”
Since February of 2019 there have been more than five dozen incidents of projectiles hitting vehicles along U.S. Highway 101 in the Prunedale area of Monterey County and State Road 156 San Benito County.
Last December, 11 cars were hit in the span of three days. The projectiles have shattered windows and several people have been injured by flying glass.
Investigators say the case is ongoing and are trying to link Mr. Rafferty to some of the other cases.