Ice pick bandit strikes again: Local legend still attacking trucks

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Updated Apr 29, 2024
Have you seen this person? It's the suspected Ice Pick Bandit, as captured on one victim's cameras.
Have you seen this person? It's the suspected Ice Pick Bandit, as captured on one victim's cameras.
Florida Highway Patrol

The so-called "Ice Pick Bandit," the truck vandal who haunts off-ramps and truck parking spots up and down I-75 in south Georgia and northern Florida, has struck again, this time cutting the air lines clean off a tractor-trailer, as well as poking up the tires. 

Overdrive has been chronicling attacks from the Ice Pick Bandit since last Fall, even obtaining images provided by police of a purported suspect. Some of his victims have described him in a new Ford Ranger. Some have all their tires poked. Others just a few. Sometimes the air lines and brakes get hit, other times not

In most cases, it's nearly $10,000 in damages. In Florida and Georgia, no arrests have been made despite attacks ongoing for at least nine months. 

In the most recent case, Ontario, Canada-based W.R. Barry & Sons trucking had a driver wake up on an onramp near the welcome center in Hamilton County, Florida, to discover their air lines cut and steer tires poked out. That's something of a scratch compared to some other IPB victims, but things then got worse.

"We saw a mechanic I'm pretty close with in that area," said Charles Barry, operations manager at the small fleet. After getting new steer tires and air lines on, including to the brakes, the driver continued to their destination farther south. 

"We got reloaded in Central Florida and when we got back to Toronto, we found two other flat drive tires," he said. 

That's the bandit's entire scheme, it seems. 

"Whatever he’s using to puncture these tires is so small that sometimes the tire doesn’t even leak," said Barry. "It sets off a long-lasting chain of events. That's the first time we've seen anything like it going on 12 years in the business, and my dad drove since 1990." 

But to the tire shops in south Georgia, it's a common sight. 

"I'd say we've seen it at least four times, and one of them actually got popped here," said a representative at Southern Tire Mart in Lake Park, Georgia, just before the Florida border.

"Someone came in with their tires popped and we changed the tires, and they left the trailer sitting far back at the very edge of the property away from cameras, and then it got popped again," she said. 

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She'd also heard of it happening at weigh stations, those off- and on-ramps, and elsewhere. 

A local Speedco had also seen a few cases, one just two weeks ago with twelve tires "and the airbags too," all punctured.

Any time this happens, Overdrive commenters always suspect the tire shops themselves of puncturing tires, perhaps to drum up business. But Charles Barry's experience, getting his tires changed all the way up in Toronto, weighs a little against that. With plenty of local shops in the area, why would one shop take such an insane, risky step?

"He's going to get himself shot," Barry said of the bandit. That's pretty much the consensus, too. Drivers are patient and gentle, all parties agree, but this person is playing with fire. 

As for the police response? They're working on it. Overdrive reached back out to Florida Highway Patrol, who said that it wasn't aware of police reports taken by individual counties.

"Last year when these incidents were occurring on a somewhat regular basis, a FHP Criminal Investigator was assigned to the case(s). Unfortunately a suspect was not caught and without further leads the investigation was closed," FHP Lieutenant Patrick Riordan said. 

Riordan said he'd pass along Overdrive's reporting "to maximize the chance to catch the responsible individual(s)."

On the Georgia side of the border, nobody commented. 

We'll continue to report these incidents and ask the police about them, too. 

Stay safe, drivers. 

[Related: Ice Pick Bandit caught on tape? Tires, airbags punctured in Florida, police investigate]

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