Truck with tires slashed at Madison River access area

This truck was one of several vehicles that had tires slashed along the Madison River last week.

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More than a dozen vehicles had their tires slashed last Wednesday at river access points along the upper Madison River, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

Tires on 15 vehicles were reported slashed while parked at the river on the morning of July 14, Madison County Sheriff Phil Fortner said.

None of the vandalized vehicles had Montana license plates, Fortner said. All were parked at river access points between Three Dollar Bridge and Lyons Bridge, a roughly 7 mile stretch.

“Unless someone has noticed anything suspicious that day that can lead us in the direction of a certain person or persons, then it’s going to be difficult to identify a suspect,” Fortner said.

No slashed tires have been reported to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office in that area since the 14th, Fortner said, and, as far has he remembered, this is the first time this has happened.

While there is no identified suspect and therefore no identified motive, Fortner said his guess is that the perpetrator was someone who was frustrated with the influx of visitation to the Madison River. The river is a world-renowned fly fishing destination and is also popular for floating and other recreation.

A fundraiser was created on GoFundMe to collect money for fishing guides whose vehicles were among those vandalized.

None of the fishing access points have cameras in the parking areas, which means that if a suspect is going to be identified, it will likely be from tips of suspicious activity in the area on the day the tires were slashed, Fortner said.

“I’m sure somebody knows something and we’re hoping that at some point maybe somebody will make a call to us and let us know,” he said.

Tips about suspicious activity in Madison County can be called in to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office at (406) 843-5301.

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at (406) 582-2651.

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