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updated: 7/26/2013 2:20 PM

Man faces charges for damaging tires, then offering to help victims

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  • Jose Mendez

      Jose Mendez

 
 

A Waukegan man accused of flattening the tires of unsuspecting women in order to assist them later has turned himself into police, authorities said.

Jose M. Mendez, 31, of the 2000 block of Sunset Avenue, was charged with two counts of reckless conduct Thursday and remains free on bail, authorities said.

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Police were investigating several suspicious incidents in July in which unsuspecting women shopping at a Target store in the 3000 block of North Lewis Avenue in Waukegan would find the tires of their vehicles slowly leaking air.

In one instance, police said, an unidentified woman got into her vehicle and headed to her Zion residence, but noticed a white pickup truck had followed her from the Target.

Mendez, who was allegedly behind the wheel of the pickup, pulled up next to the victim at her home and told her she was getting a flat tire, then offered to help change the tire, authorities said. But, the victim refused the help and called out a family member. The two called police shortly after, authorities said.

Police informed the media that the driver of the pickup was a Hispanic male in his 30s, then released a picture of the truck, authorities said.

On Thursday, Mendez turned himself into Waukegan Police at 7:30 a.m., claiming his truck was the one being shown in the news.

Mendez was interviewed by authorities and admitted to the two documented police reports, then added that he did the same thing to three to four other vehicles in June and July.

He also admitted using a special tool to loosen the valve stem inside the tire to cause the tire to leak slowly.

He is due to appear in Lake County court Aug. 15.

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