This could be the breakthrough Melbourne’s cyclists have been waiting for. The days of the so-called Boulie Tacker puncturing cyclists’ tyres might be numbered, after police released an image of a man they believe has been dropping thousands of tacks on the Yarra Boulevard in Kew for more than two years. The small 1cm-long upholstery tacks have been responsible for hundreds of punctures on the popular cycling road, with the culprit sometimes going so far as to brazenly drop them before protests against the attacks.
The mysterious tacker has somehow managed to continually offend while evading the law, with very few leads or suspects on who it might be. Until now.
Boroondara Crime Investigation Unit detectives have released CCTV images of a man they think might be dropping the tacks, along with a picture of his car they believe is a 2015 model VW. The images were taken just after 5.31am on December 1 last year, when the man stopped at the puncture repair station installed to help tacked cyclists.
The man then got out of the vehicle, tore the fencing off the post and removed the bike pump and plastic boxes, police said.
Police believe the man may live locally, as he was dressed in only a white singlet, shorts and no shoes.
Detectives say the cost to bike riders is around $5000, with between 500 and 800 punctured tyres recorded in the area during the past two years. However both those figures are believed to be much higher.
VicRoads have been forced to regularly clean the road with a special magnetic mat that has picked up thousands of the small tacks.
Some cyclists have sustained serious injuries as a result of the tacks, police said.
Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Standish said he hoped the breakthrough was enough to track down the culprit and stop the tacks from being dropped.
“It’s been an outrageous event that’s been happening over a two-year period now,” he said. “It’s a pathetic, ridiculous act. If they’ve got a gripe with cyclists this isn’t the way to go about it.”
Anyone who can identify the man or with information about the incidents is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1300 333 000.