Images released of suspected Boulie tacker, who sabotages Melbourne cycle route

Police announce breakthrough in investigation, releasing footage allegedly showing the man and his car, a 2015 Volkswagen Golf, on Yarra Boulevard

Police have released footage of a man believed to be responsible for putting tacks on Melbourne cycling tracks and causing years of punctures.

For more than two years, metal tacks have been a regular feature on Yarra Boulevard in Kew, a popular cycling route known as the Boulie. They are one centimetre long, deadly to bicycle tyres and scattered along the length of the 13km tack, prompting a number of campaigns by cyclists to raise awareness of the problem and root out the culprit.

It also spawned a grassroots detective movement that monitored anti-cycling comments on news stories and social media for clues to the tackers identity.

lee arnold (@jedlea) February 15, 2016

Thanks #boulietacker. Flat front tyre at 30kph on my commute home. Could be deadly. Please, #noboulietacks

Victoria Police have been investigating the matter since January last year, and on Thursday announced a breakthrough.

They released a series of stills from CCTV footage allegedly showing the Boulie tacker and his car, a 2015 Volkswagen Golf.

Police believe this car, a 2015 Volkswagen Golf, was being driven by the person who has been putting tacks on a popular Melbourne cycling route known as the Boulie. Photograph: Victoria Police

In a statement police said detectives from the Boroondara crime investigation unit had investigated reports that a man drove the length of the Yarra Boulevard several times on 1 December 2015, passing by a puncture repair station.

Anna Wilkinson (@AnnaLWil) January 22, 2016

Happy fri to you too #boulietacker. Time for a reward @VictoriaPolice #rolloveron #boulietacker #$forbouliepeace

Just after 5.31am the man stopped at the puncture repair station and got out of the vehicle. He then tore the fencing off the post and removed the bike pump and plastic boxes, police media officer Natalie Webster said.

Webster described the man as white and in his mid 30s, possibly with a dark beard. He was also shoeless, despite apparent proximity to so much pointy metal.

Police believe he may live locally as he was dressed in only a white singlet, shorts and no shoes, Webster said.

Anyone who recognises that person has been asked to contact police.

Three puncture repair stations were installed along the route by the City of Boroondara in 2014, in response to the frequent tackings.

The tacks in question are about 10 to 12mm long and similar to those used in a Paslode upholstery gun. They have most often been found between the Studley Park Road overpass and the Chandler Highway exit.

They have caused hundreds of bike punctures, of which up to 800 have been reported to police. Webster said some punctures had caused crashes in which cyclists were seriously injured.

Miles Standish (@mileshstandish) January 11, 2016

Another tack puncture on the Kew Boulevarde. Of course, just as the rain came. Fuck you, Boulie Tacker! #noboulietacks

Police put the cost to cyclists at $5,000, but Bicycle Network Victoria told Guardian Australia that the cost in the first 12 months alone, for bike repair, cleaning up the tacks and installing security cameras on bikes parked along the track at night, exceeded $70,000.

Cyclists using the track have been asked to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to police.

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