By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
11:23 AM EDT, October 26, 2012
Police say a man intentionally flattened a tire on a woman’s vehicle while she was inside the West King Street Sheetz store in Martinsburg on Wednesday night and then offered to follow her to her residence “so that she would get home safely.”
The woman declined the man’s offer and the suspect left the scene once more help was on the way to assist her, Martinsburg Police Department said in a news release.
Police said the man’s “ultimate intent” was not clear when he placed a piece of cloth with large nails driven through it under the front passenger side tire of the woman's sport-utility vehicle.
The woman told police she noticed something was wrong with one of her tires as she was driving out of the Sheetz parking lot and pulled over to the air pump, police said.
There, she spotted what police described as a homemade “stopstick” device, which was being held together by some type of glue, police said.
While she was looking at it, a white male with dark hair approached her and offered assistance and offered to follow her home, police said.
The man also attempted to pull the device from the tire, but it would not come out, police said.
The man was driving an older red and white truck, possibly a mid- to late-1980s Chevrolet pickup, which had some type of roll bar in the bed, police said.
Surveillance video footage from the Sheetz store shows the man pulling into the parking lot behind the female as she entered the store.
She told police she was at the store about 8 p.m. and went inside the business for only a few minutes, police said.
As she exited her vehicle and entered the store, the video footage indicates the man immediately got
out of his truck and approached her vehicle and placed the device under the tire, police said.
The man was wearing a dark-colored T-shirt and jeans and appears to be in his 20s.
The woman reported the incident Thursday, police said.
Anyone with information about the identification of the man or his vehicle can contact the Martinsburg Police Department at 304-264-2100 or the Berkeley County Crime solvers at 304-267-4999.
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