By Corey G. Johnson
Someone slashed the tires of at least 30 vehicles parked outside the Crown Coliseum on Sunday during a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, authorities said.
Sheriff’s deputies are investigating. The tires were cut while people were inside the Crown Coliseum listening to speeches, said Maj. E. Wright of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
Many of the damaged vehicles were parked on Wilkes Road. Representatives from Obama and Sen. John McCain’s campaigns said they were unaware of the acts.
Susan Lagana, the North Carolina communications director for Obama, said it was extremely disappointing and unfortunate that “people would have to experience something like that.”
Mario Diaz, communications director for McCain, did not respond to a call late Sunday.
Sarah Revis, who lives on Wilkes Road, said the slashed tires left several women, including a single mother and a toddler, stranded and upset. At least four tow trucks were sent to move the vehicles from the Crown, Revis said.
“This is an embarrassment to this city and to me as a citizen,” Revis said. “I’ve seen women out here crying and men cussing. This is a crying shame.”
Lynne Steenstra said she thought that the slashings were scare tactics designed to keep her and others from supporting Obama.
Even though it cost her roughly $120 to get her Dodge Caravan towed and fixed, Steenstra said the act would not intimidate her from voting.
“It hasn’t deterred us one bit,” Steenstra said. “It has only encouraged us more. I just hope whoever did this pays the price.”
Staff writer Corey G. Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 323-4848, ext. 487.