Tommy Joe Kelley: Slasher Nabbed, and, Um, Tired Austinites Breathe Sigh of Relief
Tommy Joe Kelley's reign of terror appears to be at an end. The 56-year-old drifter was quietly nabbed by Austin cops last month on a trespassing charge and booked into Travis County Jail under what police say is one of his 44 aliases. Earlier this week, police tacked on four more felony charges as new evidence emerged.
Travis County SO Tommy Joe Kelley, the slasher
Police claim that Kelley used all those fake names and numerous dates of birth to confuse police as he committed "hundreds if not thousands" of slashings in Austin's tony Hyde Park area over the last 16 years. There seemed to be no rhyme nor reason to his crimes. Unlike some slashers, this one never taunted police or left other messages behind. Residents were outraged and frustrated as the crime spree dragged on and on -- they even started a Web site dedicated to catching him.
If you are wondering why you haven't heard of this serial slasher, that's because Kelley's victims were not human.
Nope. Kelley is instead accused of being a Michelin mauler, a Goodyear gasher, a stabber of steel-belted radials. Police caught him with his weapon, a homemade metal tool Kelley allegedly fashioned into a tire-popper.
Kelley now stands accused of four felony counts of unlawful use of a criminal instrument. Police say that he has been nabbed going Norman Bates on NTB products at least five times since 1994, and has had more than 500 "involvements" with Austin police over that same time. Police also say he has been arrested 57 times in three states. Hyde Park residents claim that Kelley did over $16,000 in property damage before he was caught.
His bail is set at $50,000.