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Man arrested for slingshot attacks on California highways

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Posted at 4:35 PM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 19:39:50-05

SALINAS, Calif. (AP) — A man has been arrested for allegedly using a slingshot and glass marbles to randomly attack dozens of vehicles on two Northern California highways, shattering their windows and frightening drivers, authorities announced Thursday.

Charles Kenneth Lafferty, 52, was arrested Wednesday after officers served search warrants in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties, California Highway Patrol Coast Division Chief L.D. Maples said.

Four CHP officers and a deputy with the Monterey County Sheriff's Office were assigned to investigate the nearly 70 attacks that started in February 2019 along Highway 101 in the Prunedale area of Monterey County and on Highway 156 in San Benito County. The latest attack was reported on Jan. 5, Maples said.

No was seriously injured but four adults and a child had minor cuts to the eyes, hands and arms, Maples said.

The task force identified a pickup truck that they linked to several incidents, including the one in January. That led investigators to Lafferty, who they believe attacked drivers traveling in the opposite direction of his truck, Maples said.

Making an arrest “was a sigh of relief," Maples said. “We felt it was only a matter of time before someone seriously got hurt. It was great news.”

Law enforcement officials didn't comment on a possible motive for the repeated attacks. They believe the suspect was working alone and the victims appeared were randomly attacked.

Lafferty was arrested on 10 counts of assault with a deadly weapon, 10 counts of throwing objects or substances at a vehicle and one charge for possession of a firearm silencer.

He was being held in the Monterey County Jail on a $250,000 bond. It's unclear whether he has an attorney who can comment on his behalf.