What Are Caltrops, How Are They Ripping Up Tires in Yakima?
Caltrops date back to the Civil War, perhaps even earlier. But now, they're being found scattered in a certain area of Yakima, and it's raising havoc on vehicle tires.
Numerous vehicles report punctured tires
The Yakima Police Department is investigating reports of these metal, multi-barbed devices that have been scattered in an area near West Chestnutt and 66th Ave. and a few other areas close by.
What is a Caltrop?
They resemble a 'jack,' the small toy kids play with. They're usually about 2 inches across and consist of several arms with sharp ends. They're designed in a way that no matter how they land on the ground, at least one sharp edge is pointing upward.
They have been around for hundreds of years but were first widely used during the Civil War against cavalry. Union or Confederate troops would scatter them across roads, and when stepped on by a horse, it would puncture a hoof, making the horse limp.
They've also been used in both World Wars, designed to slow down vehicles and convoys, and Special Forces a few law enforcement agencies still employ them. And yes, they are illegal for public use.
The YPD cautions drivers to keep an eye on the road for suspicious-looking objects and to report anyone seen spreading these around. Yakima is not the only community having this issue, there have been numerous recent reports around the country of caltrops causing serious safety issues for drivers.
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