Teens blamed for car, garage damage
It was a joy ride that has caused Rodney Engberson a lot of pain.
The kind of pain that comes after seeing a prized, refurbished ’67 Ford Mustang fastback ruined, courtesy of a couple of thrill seeking, paintball-wielding teens.
The car, owned by Rodney’s father, Don, and brother Jeff, was allegedly stolen from Don Engberson’s garage Saturday afternoon by two 14-year-old Penn Valley boys, who entered the unoccupied garage from a side entrance, crashed the vehicle through a metal garage door and drove the classic up and down Penn Valley roads, nearly wrecking the car in the process.
Don Engberson’s garage near McCourtney and Lime Kiln roads contained the Mustang and a 1964 Ford Fairlane that he and Rodney were rebuilding.
Rodney Engberson said the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office believes the Mustang was stolen between 1 and 3:30 p.m., when no one was home.
Rodney Engberson’s mother called him late Saturday evening to alert him to the bad news.
Apparently, the youths had stripped off the Mustang’s car cover, taken the keys from inside the car’s center console and crashed through the now-crumpled garage door before driving up and down Sugarloaf Lane, skidding over the road, driving up and smashing into the embankments on both sides of the street.
The car eventually landed in front of the Higgins Fire Department’s McCourtney Road station, the chrome ripped off the top of the roof. Total damage is estimated at $20,000.
Before beginning their journey, the youths allegedly sprayed paintballs all over the garage. Paintballs were even plugged into the motor of the partially restored Fairlane and aimed at sheep and goats on Don Engberson’s property. Skid marks were still visible on the road.
“These cars mean a lot to us,” Rodney Engberson said. “There’s not a word that can describe what they did. In my heart, I don’t want to believe kids can be that bad.”
The two youths were arrested by the Sheriff’s Office, Rodney Engberson learned Monday afternoon. They had been playing with a group of paintballers who have paintball wars on leased land near Don Engberson’s home. Don and Rodney Engberson said they have nothing but praise for the operator of the paintball courts.
Normally, paintball keeps the kids away from other trouble, father and son said.
“The guy who owns the paintball outfit actually has been helpful. He does a good thing for the kids.” Don Engberson said.
“We’ve never worried about paintballs before. They pretty much stay out of our way,” he said.
Monday, paint and unexploded paintballs were all over Don Engberson’s garage – on the windshield of the Fairlane, on the garage floor and on the crumpled garage door.
The Mustang, its front end damaged, remained locked in a wrecking garage in Penn Valley.
There wasn’t much for Rodney Engberson to do but wonder why.
“You know, if they would have just lifted the garage door up, they might have had a longer ride,” he quipped.
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