Winchendon man posts $10K bail in ‘car cranking’ case

  • Hampshire County Courthouse in Northampton GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer 
Published: 11/19/2021 12:49:45 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The man accused of tampering with a woman’s gas tank in the Big Y parking lot in Southampton has been released on $10,000 bail and must stay out of Hampshire County except to attend court dates.

Southampton police arrested Alexander Yee, 37, at his home in Winchendon on Monday. He is charged with malicious damage to a motor vehicle and breaking and entering into a motor vehicle in the daytime with intent to commit a felony.

Yee pleaded not guilty to the charges in Northampton District Court. After posting bail on Thursday, he was affixed with a GPS monitoring bracelet, according to court records.

A witness called police on Sunday to report a man pouring an unknown liquid into the gas tank of a truck parked in the 10 College Highway lot. The witness confronted the suspect, who claimed he was pouring dry gas to help a friend. Police allege that it was actually half a bottle of water, according to court documents. 

When officers arrived, the suspect had left, but court documents state that police checked his vehicle registration and “received information about similar acts” that Yee allegedly committed in Franklin and Worcester counties, as well as elsewhere in Hampshire County and in southern New Hampshire.

Yee was arrested the following day. Police said he initially tried to “minimize his actions and intent,” then admitted to “awaiting an opportunity” and ultimately decided to target a female driver.

“He described himself as having a ‘car cranking fetish’ and that he was aware this action would cause for the vehicle (to) have difficulty starting as well as ruin the motor,” according to a statement filed in court by Southampton police. “Mr. Yee described this activity as ‘not a sexual fetish. It’s an impulse thing I’ve had my whole life.’”

The term “car cranking” can refer to a driver struggling to start a vehicle because the engine won’t turn over. Yee allegedly admitted that he had engaged in similar acts before, and “related how he has had this fetish for 1-2 years.”

After Yee allegedly tampered with the victim’s vehicle, it started “running ‘rough,’” according to police, and the check engine light activated. Yee was no longer present.

He is due back in court for a pretrial conference on Dec. 14.

Brian Steele can be reached at bsteele@gazettenet.com. 

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