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Police: Tire-Tampering Suspect Who Targeted Women Turns Self In

Jose M. Mendez, 31 (Waukegan Police)

Jose M. Mendez, 31 (Waukegan Police)

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WAUKEGAN (CBS) – A 31-year-old Waukegan man has been charged in connection with a series of recent incidents in which female motorists say they were approached by a stranger after their tires had been flattened on purpose.

Jose M. Mendez turned himself in to Waukegan police Thursday morning after he saw images of his pickup truck in news stories, authorities said. He allegedly admitted to detectives that he had used a special tool to loosen stems inside tire valves in as many as five incidents in June and July.

He faces two counts of reckless conduct and was released on bond. Mendez’s next court date is Aug. 15, Waukegan police said in a news release.

Twenty-year-old Alexa Colangelo told CBS 2 earlier this week she discovered her tire was losing air while driving away from a store earlier this month. A motorist following her in a white pickup truck confronted her at an intersection.

“He said: ‘Miss, you have a flat tire.’ He kept insisting he help me and I kept declining,” she said. “I was definitely scared.”

The man left and a professional deemed her tire was tampered with. Police previously said there had been one similar incident, at the same store. On Wednesday, they released a surveillance image of the white pickup truck.