A Brooksville man led a Leesburg police officer on a foot chase before being arrested for slashing tires in a tow truck lot.
Nicholas Jack Fifer, 33, was charged with two counts of criminal mischief (between $200 and $1,000) and a single count of resisting an officer without violence after the incident, which happened Monday morning at Ace’s Towing and Recovery, 1390 W. North Blvd.
Police responded to the business at around 10:44 a.m. and was told by an employee that a man – later identified as Fifer – had slashed a tire on a tow truck. Fifer reportedly fled south on North Boulevard before heading west to U.S. Highway 27, according to an arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department.
An officer arrived in the area and saw a man matching Fifer’s description. The officer tried to stop Fifer, but he fled west across Highway 27. The officer followed in his patrol vehicle and Fifer went back across the highway. The officer parked at Maryland Fried Chicken, 708 U.S. Hwy. 27, and gave verbal commands for Fifer to stop while chasing him on foot, the report said.
Fifer continued running south behind neighboring businesses. As he did so, he pulled a knife from his waistband and dropped it on the ground. He then stopped running and listened to the officer’s commands. Fifer was detained, and the tow truck employee arrived on scene to confirm he was the suspect who slashed the tire, according to the report.
Officers returned to Ace’s Towing to inspect the damage to the tow truck and an additional RV that was in the lot. The truck’s front left tire was flat due to a 1-inch hole that appeared to be from a knife. All four tires on the RV had puncture marks about 1-inch long and flat. The damage to the truck was valued at $253.49 per tire, while the damage to the RV was valued at $193.21 per tire, or $772.84. The total damage to the five tires was $1,026.33, the report said.
After inspecting the vehicle, officers spoke with the employee, who said he was in the process of moving vehicles around the parking lot when he noticed Fifer near the RV and tow truck. He said Fifer was bent over and struck the front-left tire of the RV with a knife. The employee called another worker to assist. When they came back, Fifer was striking the front-left tire of the tow truck. He fled south on North Boulevard after being confronted. The employee chased Fifer and contacted the police. He lost sight of Fifer near an auto parts store, according to the report.
Surveillance camera footage confirmed these events with the additional detail of Fifer trying to gain access to the RV by pulling on the camper doors. He pulled out a knife and stabbed the tires when he was unable to do so, the report said.
Fifer was was transported to the Lake County Jail with bond set at $5,000.