Police now think a 38-year-old woman arrested this weekend on suspicion of slashing tires may be responsible for more than 70 similar incidents spanning a three-month period in southeast Wichita.
Lisa Milton was charged Tuesday in Sedgwick County District Court with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of criminal damage to property for incidents that occurred Saturday afternoon.
Police say a man heard a hissing sound and saw Milton next to his car in the 700 block of South Mission, which is northeast of Lincoln and Woodlawn. She threatened the 67-year-old man with a pocket knife, but he began following her and yelling to draw attention to her.
She then threatened a 66-year-old neighbor of the first victim with the knife, Capt. Hassan Ramzah said, and kept walking. But they called 911, and officers found Milton a few blocks away in the 900 block of Barlow.
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Investigators think she is responsible for dozens of tire-slashing incidents in a geographic area bounded by Kellogg to the north, Harry to the south, Rock Road to the east and Edgemoor to the west. Typically, Ramzah said, multiple tires were slashed on each vehicle — meaning the victims had to spend hundreds of dollars to replace the tires.
Milton’s bond was set at $10,000, and her preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 25. Milton could be charged with additional counts if evidence warrants it, said Georgia Cole, a spokeswoman for the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.
Ramzah credited the residents for being alert and notifying police when they noticed suspicious activity.
Milton has not spoken with police since her arrest, Ramzah said, so they do not know if she has a medical history that played a role in her behavior.
“We have no reason to believe the crimes are connected to a business,” he said in an e-mail response to questions.