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Bay Area climate activists target SUVs, deflate tires

Bay Area climate activists target SUVs, deflate tires
Bay Area climate activists target SUVs, deflate tires 02:51

VACAVILLE - Someone has been deflating SUV tires to make a point about gas consumption and climate change. It's happened to multiple drivers in Vacaville, including Quanda Ellis-Walker.

The registered nurse has two boys with autism. She and her husband also coach youth sports focusing on kids with disabilities.

She said between her job, her kids, the kids on her team, and taking care of an older aunt, she puts a lot of mileage on her Dodge SUV. On Tuesday morning, as she was driving to an appointment, her tire pressure sensor came on to notify her of a low tire pressure.

"The sensor on my tire (reads) 6 (psi)," said Ellis-Walker. She parked the car and found the problem.

"My (rear passenger) tire was totally flat," said Ellis-Walker. "I noticed the paper on my windshield."

The flyer said a climate activist has deflated the tire because SUVs are bad for the environment.

"The flyer says 'your gas guzzler kills.' And I was just angry about that because my gas guzzler does not kill," said Ellis-Walker.

She said her SUV is a lifeline in her community. It's helped her transport special needs children to many sporting events.

"Shame on them, very disappointed. It shouldn't have happened," said Ellis-Walker.
The same thing happened to her neighbor around the same time on Tuesday a few blocks away near the corner of Cinnabar Way and Jason Way.

"It said that my tire was down to 1 psi and I could feel it. So I just turned around and parked," said Nicole Waters, a mother of two young children. Waters found the same flyer on her Honda Pilot's windshield and a deflated tire.

"I get where they're coming from, but you can't affect other people's personal property," said Waters.

Whether it's a person or a group, it appears they're removing the tire valve cap to let the air out in the middle of the night. Vacaville police said they're aware of several incidents reported on social media. But so far, only one car owner has filed a police report with them.

"Oftentimes, we'll be able to kind of piece things together and use evidence from varies crime scenes in order to give us leads. So we're encouraging anyone who has information to give us that information," said Vacaville Police Department spokesperson Lt. Katie Cardona.

These acts appear to be some of the first incidents targeting SUVs in the Northern California region.
A group of anonymous climate activists started the vehicle tampering in Europe and now it's spreading to The U.S.

For the two Vacaville moms, the action hurts the message. They said a flat tire on the freeway can be dangerous.
"It backfired because they attacked an innocent person," said Ellis-Walker. "It could have killed my family.

The anonymous group called, The Tire Extinguishers, claimed responsibility for the vehicle tampering. On their website, they claim to also target electric SUV's because they say all SUVs are dangerous.

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