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Man accused of flattening woman's tire, offering to follow her home

October 31, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • Michael Lee Garland
Submitted photo

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A man who police say intentionally flattened a tire on a woman’s vehicle while she was inside a Sheetz in Martinsburg last week and then offered to follow her to her residence was charged with two misdemeanors, according to court records.

Michael Lee Garland, 24, of 857 Jefferson Ave., Charles Town, W.Va., was arraigned Wednesday by Berkeley County Magistrate Jim Humphrey on counts of destruction of property and tampering with a motor vehicle , according to magistrate court documents.

Garland, who was found by police at a parent’s residence in Myrtle Beach, S.C., surrendered to police in Martinsburg on Wednesday and was released from custody after he was arraigned and bail was posted on a $5,000 bond, according to magistrate court documents and police.

Police had said the woman declined the man’s offer to follow her home outside the West King Street Sheetz on Oct. 24 and the suspect left the scene once more help was on the way to assist her, police had said.

The man’s “ultimate intent” was not clear when he placed a homemade stopstick device under the front passenger side tire of the woman’s sport utility vehicle, police have said. The contraption was made with a white, ribbed T-shirt wrapped around another blue shirt and two long nails glued through it, according to court documents.

The woman told police she noticed something was wrong with one of her tires as she was driving out of the Sheetz parking lot and pulled over to the air pump, police had said.

While she was looking at it, a white male with dark hair approached her and offered assistance and offered to follow her home, police had said.

The man also attempted to pull the device from the tire, but it would not come out, police said.

Surveillance video footage from the Sheetz at 1600 W. King St., shows a man, whom the police alleged was Garland, pull up to the dumpster while the woman is getting out of her SUV and then back up behind her vehicle when she entered the store, according to court documents.

The video shows a man place the stopstick device under the front right tire, then move the pickup he was driving to the front of the parking lot and wait for her to check the tire and then offer assistance, according to court documents.

The woman told police she was at the store about 8 p.m. and went inside the business for only a few minutes, police said.

Police said the man allowed the woman to use his mobile phone to call her husband and his phone number was captured on the couple’s caller ID at home, according to court documents.

On Saturday, police in Charles Town notified Martinsburg police that the description of the pickup truck the man was driving matched one parked in front of a residence at 857 Jefferson Ave. in Charles Town.

Police then were able to determine that the 1987 Chevrolet pickup was registered to the Garland’s father in South Carolina, according to court documents.

Also on Saturday, police were contacted by a Berkeley County man who recognized the vehicle and indicated that he sold the roll bar to Garland, who he knew as “Michael,” according to court documents.

The man also told police that Michael had been a neighbor of his on Thatcher Road in Berkeley County, but believed he was currently residing with his stepfather and mother in Charles Town, according to court documents. 

The man also confirmed that the mobile phone number preserved on the victim’s caller ID was the same number that he had in his phone for Garland, according to court documents.

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