(CBS) – Chicago’s controversial system of “dibs” turned potentially deadly for one woman.

A 25-year-old Northwest Side resident tells CBS 2 someone cut a brake line under her vehicle last week after she parked in a curbside spot that had been cleared earlier by another motorist.

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The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said she couldn’t find a spot late Thursday to park, other than a spot for which someone had already claimed “dibs.”

Under the illegal dibs system, people who shovel out parking spots after a blizzard lay claim to them for days by leaving items, such as furniture, to block other vehicles. The unspoken threat to dibs-breakers: Their vehicle could get keyed — or worse.

The woman who talked with CBS 2 says she moved aside a white patio chair that had been placed in the spot she took. She says parking was scarce that night. When she drove away Friday morning she says the brakes were increasingly hard to operate.

“I literally had to put all my weight on the brake pedal,” she says.

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A mechanic later that day gave her the grim news: A brake line was severed and she was nearly out of brake fluid.

The damage cost her $225 to repair, she says. What bothers her more is the vandal had no regard for her safety.

“It honestly is attempted murder,” she says.

Chicago police say a motorist contacted them over the weekend to report her brake line had been cut in the block of 2400 block of West Iowa. Area Central detectives are investigating.

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The woman says she hopes a surveillance camera from a nearby school may produce some evidence.