MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) The reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of the person or persons hitting vehicles with projectiles near Aromas and Prunedale has increased.
The Monterey County Sheriff's Office has added an additional $2,500 and Supervisor Philips has contributed $500.
With four projectile attacks over the last four days along Highway 101, many drivers on the Central Coast and beyond are worried about traveling through the area for Thanksgiving.
There has been at least 42 projectile attacks against cars, vans and recently a school bus. They have all been happening between Vierra Canyon and the Red Barn along Highway 101. Some cars have been targeted along State Route 156 toward Hollister as well.
The California Highway Patrol does not seem any closer to capturing the highway hitter.
KION spoke with a local criminologist, Professor Jared Turner, on Tuesday to gain more insight into what kind of person may be behind these attacks.
"It would be my first guess is that this person is a loner and lacks pro-social positive peers," said Turner.
Turner is a former corrections officer and the current Administration of Justice department chair at MPC in Monterey. He believes people who commit these types of reckless crimes without any apparent financial or social gain indicate they may be younger in age.
"It sounds like somebody that's a youthful male, that is bored, that is thrill seeking by causing damage and vandalism, trying to scare people," said Turner.
It is still unclear if the attacks are from a group of people, copycats or a single person. But Turner believes the perp is likely male.
"Criminal data suggests that approximately 92 to 95 percent of all criminals are male in gender, so it's a logical conclusion to make that assumption I think in most cases involving crime," he said. "So that's probably a fair place to begin."
Turner says serial offenders like this, along with even serial killers, have something in common: planning things out. He speculates if the highway hitter picked out the site believing he can get away with crimes there. Turner says perhaps he checked the area out first before deciding to start attacking cars.
"So when you think about serial offenders, one of the things that comes to mind is individuals that are building up towards more serious activities," said Turner.
He says not getting caught yet could embolden the highway hitter to keep doing this. Turner wonders if the attacks turn deadly whether that could cause the attacks to stop.
"Does this end this person's criminal behavior because it brings a certain amount of fear and remorse and anxiety to them for causing more violence than maybe they intended?" said Turner.
"Something more concerning to me would be if the attacks continue on after somebody gets hurt, it would kind of give you more of a mindset of what this individual is thinking or planning or what their intentions are," he continued.
CHP says they do have extra patrols out along Highway 101, but they have not revealed where those patrols are or when they are happening.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Monterey County Sheriff's Office at 888-833-4847.