Phoenix, AZ – A 19-year-old woman told police she slashed the tire of a stranger’s car because she saw a Make America Great Again hat inside and didn’t agree with the politics.
The woman’s name was not released by the police because she had not been booked, according to Phoenix Police Sergeant Vincent Lewis.
“She later told police that it was because she saw a hat with a political message inside the vehicle which she disagreed with,” Sgt. Lewis said in an email, according to the Arizona Republic.
The woman was cited for criminal damage, a misdemeanor, and could face up to four months in jail and a $750 fine.
The incident started on Saturday at about 1:30 p.m. when Nick Dugas noticed his SUV was pulling to the left. Dugas then noticed his front left tire was flat.
When Dugas got a closer look, he noticed a three-inch slit through the neck of the tire, according to the Arizona Republic.
Dugas works as a retail security manager so he went back to the mall to look at surveillance footage of the parking lot. He noticed that a car parked next to his SUV and four women got out.
Two of the women then looked into Dugas’ car in the area where he had a MAGA hat on the console, according to the Arizona Republic.
The women went into a store and reappeared seven minutes. The driver of the car squatted next to his tire while another woman was scanning the parking lot. The left side of Dugas’ SUV dropped.
Dugas examined the video more closely and saw that the woman that slashed his tire had a red beverage from Dutch Bros. Coffee in her hand.
Dugas walked to the Dutch Bros. Coffee shop and asked about that particular kind of drink. The manager knew the women and recognized them from the surveillance tape and said they came in often.
The victims then checked the Instagram page of the coffee shop and scrolled through the followers and recognized the woman and her accomplice who slashed his tire.
He then called the police and gave them their names.
The slashed tire cost Dugas $300 to replace. He also missed out on his mother’s birthday dinner, the Arizona Republic reported.
But missing out on the family event wasn’t the only issue Dugas had with the woman’s actions.
“No one has a right to destroy property because they don’t agree with someone else,” Dugas said, according to the Arizona Republic. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine being the victim of pure hate because of my belief.”
Dugas provided a written statement to the court. It read, “In this case, the right thing to do is to forgive you rather than spill hatred onto you like you did to me. Rather than wish upon you the same fear you wished upon me that day. But I really hope that you are listening. Just because I have a different yet equally as important view as you do, it doesn’t EVER give you the right to spew hate, cause fear, and interrupt someone else’s life."
Dugas still keeps his MAGA hat on the console of his car, something he pointed out to his 15-year-old son, according to the Arizona Republic.
“See that hat? It hasn’t moved, has it?” he asked his son. The teen shook his head, according to the Arizona Republic. “You don’t ever let anybody change who you are, or what you believe in,” Dugas told him. “You stand strong.”