MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — Miami Beach Police have arrested a man accusing him of etching swastikas on five vehicles in the city.
Timothy Merriam, 60, a self-identified homeless man, is charged with criminal mischief and criminal mischief with an impairment of business operation.
Detectives said Merriam etched the swastikas into the vehicles and also slashed tires from over 100 Citi bikes on between February 25th and 26th prompting his arrest on February 26th.
According to his arrest report, Merriam was captured on video puncturing the tires of the bikes at the “Citi Bike” station racks on 13th Street and Pennsylvania Ave.
During their investigation, detectives interviewed Merriam at TGK Correctional Facility on Tuesday. They said Merriam made statements that led them to conclude he is the person responsible for the swastika etching, police said.
Residents were notified of Merriam’s arrest.
“I understand, from what the police told me, this is a guy with a lot of anger,” said Doug Eaton.
Eaton’s car was one of the ones vandalized back on February 26th.
He’s not Jewish but says many of his neighbors are and the arrest brings a sigh of relief.
“It’s obviously, it was designed to offend and, you know, I think there’s going to be relief that it wasn’t part of something more significant,” he said.
Officers say they will be working with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office to determine whether the enhanced penalties of a hate crime are appropriate.