January 2, 2009

Anti-burglar tire spikes biting residents

A tire spike strip to keep burglars out of a San Francisco-area apartment complex has been bad for residents and good for local tire shops, residents say.

Al Ross, who lives at Mesa Verde in Hayward, said that he lost two tires on Christmas Day. He had to pay $268 for new tires and more money to have his car towed to the shop.

This has happened to dozens of us, he told The Daily Review.

Mesa Verde residents returning home are supposed to swipe a card that signals the spikes to recede in the roadway and raise a barrier, with a green light letting them know when they can move forward safely. But Ross, who suffers from a form of color blindness, said that the system works better in theory than in practice.

It was dark, overcast and foggy and the gate was wide open, he said of his Christmas misadventure. I could not see the spikes, and it was reasonable to believe that since the gate was up, I could go in.

Jeff Candelario, owner of Big O Tires near the complex, said that he gets spurts of customers from Mesa Verde, including six in December.