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An Arizona woman admitted to police that she slashed a man’s tire simply because she saw a Make America Great Again hat sitting on his dashboard, according to the Arizona Republic.
The vehicle belongs to Nick Dugas, who works as a security manager at a mall. His job, which gave him access to the parking lot surveillance cameras, helped him piece together what happened.
“No one has a right to destroy property because they don’t agree with someone else,” Dugas told the Republic. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine being the victim of pure hate because of my belief.”
Saturday, Dugas’s vehicle was parked at Paradise Valley Mall, where he works. That afternoon, a car parked next to his SUV, and four women got out. Two of them spotted the MAGA hat in the car, but they all went into a store, doing nothing.
A few minutes later, they came out from Dutch Bros. Coffee and got back in their car. Then, two of them got back out. The driver knelt down next to Dugas’s left front tire while the passenger stood watch. On surveillance video, the left side of the vehicle is seen dropping. Then the women left.
Later that day, Dugas came out and noticed a 3-inch puncture in his tire, a clear sign that someone had cut it. That evidence sent Dugas back into work to review the surveillance footage, discover what happened, and identify the women by talking to employees of Dutch Bros. coffee and browsing the shop’s Instagram followers list.
He turned the info over to Phoenix police, who said the woman admitted to cutting the tire “because she saw a hat with a political message inside the vehicle which she disagreed with.” She was charged with misdemeanor criminal damage, which carries a punishment of up to four months in jail and a $750 fine.
The whole situation caused Dugas significant inconvenience. When he left work and discovered the flat tire, he was heading to take his son to tutoring and make it to a birthday dinner for his visiting mother. That did not happen as planned.
Still, Dugas did not let act of politically-motivated hate cause him to react poorly. Dugas’s court statement emphasized that he forgave the woman for what she did, even though she was clearly in the wrong.
He also didn’t even consider removing the MAGA hat from his car, and made sure to point that out to his son, a 15-year old who he adopted last year when he found the boy homeless and sleeping behind a store.
“You don’t ever let anybody change who you are, or what you believe in,” Dugas told his son, according to the Arizona Republic.