Police are looking for witnesses and other possible victims following two cases of vehicle wheel lug nuts being intentionally loosened in Nanaimo. (File photo)

Police are looking for witnesses and other possible victims following two cases of vehicle wheel lug nuts being intentionally loosened in Nanaimo. (File photo)

Stupid joke or much worse? RCMP probes loosened lug nuts in Nanaimo

Car’s wheel rolls through Nanaimo park after someone tampers with vehicle wheels

Nanaimo Mounties are investigating two reports of lug nuts on vehicle wheels being loosened after a wheel came off of a car and rolled through a city park this week.

Both incidents happened sometime during the day on Wednesday, March 10, while the vehicles were parked near Serauxmen Stadium on Third Street.

In the first incident, a youth told police he parked his Dodge Caliber at 8:10 a.m. and returned at 12:10 p.m. Unbeknownst to him, when he drove out of the parking lot, the lug nuts had been tampered with, according to Nanaimo RCMP.

After a few minutes of driving, the motorist started noticing a strong vibration and pulled over on the side of Bowen Road near Bowen Park. Just as he was bringing his vehicle to a stop, he saw his tire come loose and roll nearly 200 metres through the park before coming to a rest near the tennis courts.

He then told his friends about his experience, which may have averted a second incident when another 17-year-old returned to his Ford F-150 and found that his rear passenger wheel had also been loosened. His pickup had been parked three stalls away from the first victim’s vehicle.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the the tampering was an extremely dangerous act of tampering.

“We’re working on several theories,” O’Brien said. “Most of the kids from NDSS park their vehicles there. It could have been a joke gone sideways and they just did not realize the implications of their actions, which could have been deadly. The other one is it’s a malicious act. We haven’t seen any connections between the two and we’ve spoken to the boys and there’s no ill will towards them. There’s nobody that’s out to get them.”

O’Brien said police are hoping someone might have seen a person who was possibly crouched down and appearing to have been working on a vehicle.

“Somebody may have seen somebody, thinking they were working on a car, and they haven’t reported it to us,” he said. “Also anybody else who has had their lug nuts removed or loosened, we need to hear from them.”

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file No. 2021-8674.

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