Reports of slashed tyres continue to roll into Whangārei police and the toll is expected to rise as vehicle owners continue to discover the acts of mindless vandalism.
By yesterday afternoon police had 53 reports of vehicle tyres being damaged in Kamo, Kensington, Tikipunga, Onerahi, Maunu and Ruakākā, which happened on Friday night and early Saturday morning.
Two cars on King St and one on Riverside Drive opposite the Kissing Point Marina were also set on fire during the same period.
Detective Sergeant David Hamilton said police were keeping an open mind but believed one person or group of people were responsible.
"Police are following a number of lines of inquiry and encourage the public to report anything suspicious. We want to know so we can catch those responsible," Hamilton said.
"A lot of people have been inconvenienced by the actions of some and we want to hold those responsible to account."
Police were particularly concerned that a car parked next to a house in King St was set on fire while the occupants were asleep. They were woken by a bang and had been earlier woken by firefighters putting out another car fire in their street, where at least four cars had tyres slashed.
Local tyres dealers have also been asked to ensure customers report damage to police.
Police would not speculate what the motives were for such a volume of offending but expected more complaints over the next few days.
"Police are really disappointed that someone in our community has undertaken what we see as pointless offending."
Des Imms, of All About Tyres on Wakelin St in Kamo, said he did not know about the mindless vandalism until customers arrived "in tears".
"It's heart-breaking to see. One lady literally only had a new set of tyres on for a week," Imms said.
Imms started work on Sunday about 7.30am and by 9am had called in extra staff to deal with the numbers of irate vehicle owners who had had their tyres damaged.
The team worked until 6pm on Sunday changing 52 tyres and were again busy on Monday morning as nine more people discovered more flat tyres.
Imms said some tyres had been stabbed multiple times and other were slashed or had pin stabs.
Some customers had to replace all four tyres but most had to replace two. One customer had to replace seven tyres on various vehicles.
"Once it hit home how many people had been affected we discounted the labour and did the work for the cost of the tyres."
A number of other tyre business in Whangārei were also offering deals for the victims of the slashings and some were even offering free used tyres.
Miranda Shackell, of Tikipunga, posted on Facebook early yesterday offering victims of the tyre slashings a lift to work if they needed a ride, even offering to do a second run into town for up to five people.
Whangārei's Bron Kaipo posted she was finding it hard to understand why people hurt others for no reason.
"It may not have been physical but the after-effects cause so much stress on families, which then make them physically sick often putting them in hospital. With everything being so expensive most whānau struggle on a day-to-day basis just to make ends meet for kai, fuel etc. To hear the devastation of tyre slashing happening to whānau is sickening."
If you can help police identify those responsible please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or Hamilton at Whangārei police station on (09) 430 4500.