Police Can’t Stop a Woman Who Has Allegedly Vandalized 1,000 Cars

Thanks to a legal loophole, an Austrian woman is reportedly free to scratch up paint jobs at will. 

Scratched car
Getty Images/Boston Globe

Locals and law enforcement in one European city have spent the last six years dealing with a a mentally ill Austrian woman who has allegedly scratched 1,000 cars—yet due to a legal loophole, the police are unable to do anything to stop her from further vandalization. 

A 35-year-old woman in Styria, Austria, has allegedly spent more than half a decade scratching a zig-zag pattern into the paint jobs of cars. Though countless owners have complained and new victims are frequently coming forward, police say they cannot take action against her because of her mental health status, Austrian English-language news website The Local reports. It is unclear what mental illness this woman happens to suffer from.

When the woman was sent to court last year, a psychiatric expert purportedly stated she was mentally unfit to stand trial, and thus unable to be legally responsible for the damage she has caused. However, unless she is accused of committing a crime that could lead to a year in jail, the court is not able to send a psychiatric clinic for law-breakers.

“As long as the legal situation stays as it is, our hands are unfortunately tied. Neither police nor the state prosecutors can do anything at this moment,” said police commander Dietmar Jeglitsch.

According to reports, the woman tends to seek out dark-colored vehicles. So on the off chance you happen to live in Styria and you're in the market for a new whip...maybe go for something nice and light.