The Oregon City Nighttime Nailer has been, well, nailed.
The man who is believed to have been terrorizing Oregon City roadways since at least 2017, spreading large nails across various streets in the dead of night, was arrested early Tuesday morning and has been identified as 56-year-old Oregon City resident Bret Michael Wilson.
The news was first broken by Oregon City Mayor Dan Holladay, who did not identify Wilson but confirmed the suspect, who has also been nicknamed the “Nail Bandit,” was in custody.
In a press release later that day, Oregon City police explained that Wilson was arrested after patrol officers saw him “intentionally throwing nails from his vehicle onto S. Center Street” at approximately 5:37 a.m.
“We have dubbed Mr. Wilson as the ‘Nighttime Nailer’ because over the last two years, someone had been intentionally throwing roofing nails onto local streets, primarily in the early morning hours while it was still dark outside,” police said. “Some of the thrown nails did cause damage to motorists’ tires, luckily no one was injured.”
Wilson allegedly admitted to throwing nails onto busy streets, not only in Oregon City but in other metropolitan locations, on over 50 separate occasions. Police say he dumped nails in several locations in Oregon City over the past week alone, including S. Center Street between Telford Road and S. 2nd, along with S. Center Street between Barker Avenue and S. 2nd.
The nails have been described by police as roofer’s nails or something similar, perfect for popping car tires. Not only are victims forced to incur the expense of repairing or buying new tires, there is the potential that they could lose control of their vehicle and crash, resulting in serious injury or worse.
Wilson was lodged at the Clackamas County Jail on four counts of second-degree disorderly conduct. The Oregon City Police Department says they are combining the previous cases together and will be submitting them to the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office for consideration of further charges.
The news of the Nail Bandit’s early morning capture almost broke the Internet, at least in the local area. Mayor Holladay’s post alone garnered over 1400 reactions. The OCPD’s announcement was shared almost 600 times.
“I’ve had to replace four tires and had them repaired several times,” one resident remarked. “Ugh. Glad he was caught.”
Others questioned what motivated the Nighttime Nailer’s bizarre, cruel and potentially dangerous behavior, which is still a mystery. One theory was that perhaps Mr. Wilson owns a tire shop and was just looking to drum up business. Others posited a less rational explanation.
In the words of one commenter: “So he finally gets caught and then just comes right out and admits to all of it? Including other cities in the metro area? Like he was an addict needing help? … This is as weird as a person with a foot fetish or a paper eater. WTH.”
It was a busy day for moderators of the Oregon City Chit Chat Facebook group, who had to delete numerous comments threatening bodily harm and retribution. While it’s unclear how many of these threats were serious, if any, it does reflect the genuine fear and anxiety the Nighttime Nailer has inflicted during his reign of terror.
“I am not a violent person,” one woman said, “BUT it is easy to want to hurt someone who caused your tire to blow out while you were driving your children down the road. He was intentionally trying to cause harm to others for a very long time. We are lucky that people were not hurt or worse.”
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