SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A $20,000 reward was announced Thursday in the search for a vandal or vandals who have been using a slingshot to fire metal ball bearings into windows along the Guadalupe Freeway including at the SAP Center, the San Jose Museum of Art and the county’s crime lab.
Investigators with the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office have dubbed the suspect the “San Jose Highway Slingshot Shooter” for targeting homes and commercial buildings along the stretch of Highway 87 between I-280 and Highway 101.
“It’s getting worse, it’s getting more frequent,” said Capt. Michael Whittington, with the office of the district attorney Bureau of Investigations. “This could be escalating and we want this behavior to stop because the next event could be catastrophic.”
According to Whittington, district attorney Jeff Rosen said “enough is enough” after a recent attack involved an unsuspecting woman sitting in her parked car.
“With no sounds of gunshots, no sounds of anything, her windows were blown out,” Whittington said. “Imagine a silent attack that could hit you. We want that to stop.”
Investigators now fear the suspect’s behavior is escalating into an alarming, more violent pattern.
In a press release, a spokesperson with the DA office said that, although no one has reportedly been injured during the vandalism spree, the damage estimates have exceeded $500,000.
Residences, companies and agencies have been targeted in the brazen attacks. The county crime lab has been struck eight times.
“We are asking for the public’s help to stop this destructive and dangerous spree,” DA Rosen said. “This is not just property damage. People live and work behind those windows.”
Whittington said since March they’ve documented residential and commercial windows that have been targeted at least 20 times along the corridor, which passes by the San Jose International Airport and runs through the heart of downtown San Jose.
Investigators believe the suspect or suspects are using some type of slingshot to fire the metal bearings at a potentially lethal speed.
Michael Titus, who lives near the Highway 87 corridor said the case will make more aware of his surroundings.
“If you’re going to endanger somebody then you need to get caught, especially if you’re targeting people,” said Titus.
Lloyd Allen, who was at a park with his young daughter, also lives near Highway 87.
“I mean it could be, maybe, my daughter or a relative I know passing by and that might happen so it’s definitely concerning,” Allen said.
Whittington said the metal ball bearings are about the size of a quarter and move at a speed of 100 mph upon impact.
“Our district attorney Jeff Rosen has said, ‘This has to stop, we need to find this person,'” Whittington said.
When asked if he had a message for the San Jose Highway Slingshot Shooter, Whittington replied, “Stop. You will kill someone.”
If you have information about this crime you can submit anonymous crime tip information using Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers P3TIPS mobile app, by calling the tip line at (408) 947-STOP or online at http://www.svcrimestoppers.org. If the information you submit leads to an arrest you are eligible for a reward.
The reward money is funded by a community-driven partnership with the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers.