Joseph Kurimay had tried to warn police that drivers were speeding on Pulaski Road, the street he lives on that winds around Lake Pulaski in Buffalo, some 40 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
In spring 2017, Kurimay had contacted cops to inform them drivers were not observing the speed limit, and that he could prove it, according to criminal charges filed against Kurimay. The 75-year-old homeowner had gone so far as to purchase a radar gun to track vehicles' speeds.
Whether police followed up on Kurimay's tip is not addressed in the charges, which are instead focused on other purchases he allegedly began to make: masonry nails, an inch and a half in length, purchased from a nearby Menards by an "older bald male" who paid for them in cash, according to surveillance video.
Police learned something nefarious was afoot from a woman who arrived home one day last October to find a tire was leaking air. She took the car to Tires Plus for repair, and learned that they'd done "many repairs" for cars with nails in the tires around that time.
After connecting Kurimay to the nail purchases at Menards, a police detective paid him a visit at his home. "Initially uncooperative," according to the complaint, Kurimay at first denied even knowing what a mason nail is, let alone having bought any.
Under questioning, as the detective began to search Kurimay's house, the suspect "began blaming the government for not solving the problems he had complained about," the criminal complaint says, leaving him no choice but to take the matter "'into his own hands out of frustration.'"
Though Kurimay repeatedly tried interrupting the search, police eventually found a box of nails in his garage that matched those used in the recent tire-flattening incidents. A sweep of area auto repair shops -- Walmart, Tires Plus, Cenex, Morrie's Ford, Ryan Chevrolet -- found employees of each business stating they'd recently treated tires that had been flattened by running over a nail.
Workers at Tires Plus alone said they'd seen "well over 100 nails" damaging tires. Ultimately, a police investigation linked the same mason nail found in Kurimay's garage to 115 separate incidents of tires popped by nails on Pulaski Road. According to the local Menards, they'd sold that particular type of nail to only one person in the preceding months: Joseph Kurimay.
He's facing a single count of first-degree damage to property, with the total cumulative damage caused by his alleged nail-setting spree assessed at $22,630. The crime carries a maximum penalty of a five-year sentence or a $5,000 fine.
Kurimay has not been arrested yet for his crime, but has an initial court date set for the morning of April 30.
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