Mixed verdict in ‘Mayfair Tire Slasher’ case

David Toledo found guilty of some, but not most, charges.

A Com­mon Pleas Court jury de­cided that Dav­id Toledo did, in­deed, slash or punc­ture a bunch of tires on his May­fair neigh­bors’ cars.

But was Toledo, in fact, the “May­fair Tire Slash­er” who men­aced res­id­ents of the Cottman and Frank­ford area for about four months in early 2012? It de­pends whom you ask.

Fol­low­ing a weeklong tri­al, a 12-mem­ber jury last Wed­nes­day con­victed Toledo, 46, of 15 charges re­lated to the dam­aged car tires. But the jury ac­quit­ted Toledo of 44 oth­er charges, leav­ing most of the van­dal­ism at­trib­uted to the de­fend­ant of­fi­cially un­solved.

“Was there a situ­ation in May­fair where people were really be­ing ter­ror­ized? Yeah,” Toledo’s at­tor­ney, Wil­li­am Bren­nan, said after the ver­dict.

“But when a guy is labeled the ‘May­fair Tire Slash­er’ and he’s found not guilty of 75 per­cent of the case, maybe he’s a May­fair tire slash­er.”

Bren­nan de­scribed the case as “over­charged” by the Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice, which blamed about 50 in­cid­ents of tire slash­ing all on Toledo.

The in­cid­ents oc­curred between Janu­ary and April 2012 mostly along Tees­dale, Aldine and ad­join­ing streets just west of Frank­ford Av­en­ue. Sev­er­al vehicles were van­dal­ized mul­tiple times in that span, in­clud­ing Toledo’s own car. He lived on Aldine Street at the time.

Toledo was con­victed of 12 crim­in­al mis­chief counts as well as two counts of pos­sess­ing an in­stru­ment of crime (a knife) and one for fil­ing a false re­port to po­lice. He faces a max­im­um pos­sible sen­tence of 7-1/2 to 15 years in state pris­on, but Bren­nan is seek­ing pro­ba­tion, not­ing that 12 of the con­vic­tions are sum­mary of­fenses.

“Toledo held an en­tire neigh­bor­hood host­age with his crim­in­al ac­tions and the jury clearly saw that by con­vict­ing him,” the D.A.’s Of­fice said in a prin­ted state­ment.

“We got a fair jury and were sat­is­fied with the out­come,” As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Lauren McHale told re­port­ers after the ver­dict.

Throughout the tri­al, Bren­nan high­lighted what he framed as an ab­sence of evid­ence against his cli­ent on most of the charges. Nobody ac­tu­ally saw Toledo punc­tur­ing any tires.

Bren­nan ar­gued that crim­in­al in­vest­ig­at­ors failed to pur­sue dozens of oth­er leads after identi­fy­ing Toledo as the tire slash­er.

“There was a list of 25 people, a sus­pect list they didn’t fol­low up on,” the de­fense at­tor­ney said.

Bren­nan de­scribed a scen­ario in which an­oth­er area res­id­ent had vo­lun­teered to per­form nightly patrols of the af­fected blocks and ad­mit­tedly car­ried a knife while walk­ing his beat. Au­thor­it­ies did not charge him, and he be­came a wit­ness for the pro­sec­u­tion.

In an­oth­er in­stance, private sur­veil­lance cam­er­as re­cor­ded an­oth­er man van­dal­iz­ing cars in a nearby sec­tion of May­fair. Po­lice re­covered the video and made an ar­rest.

“He pleaded to whatever was on cam­era and that was it,” Bren­nan said.

The spate of tire slash­ings re­ceived heavy news me­dia cov­er­age, with Toledo front and cen­ter in many re­ports. Toledo presen­ted him­self as a Town Watch-style neigh­bor­hood watch­man, al­though he nev­er ac­tu­ally joined the Town Watch. In one tele­vi­sion in­ter­view, he sug­ges­ted he might dis­patch some street justice on the per­pet­rat­or, were he to identi­fy the van­dal.

Toledo moved out of May­fair after his ar­rest and re­lease from jail. He re­mains free on bail pending a March 24 sen­ten­cing hear­ing. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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