Four teens cited in theft, vandalism of Pink Car
Originally Published: May 25, 2011 4:39 p.m.
The Pink Car, a Walker landmark for more than 70 years, was found in the Prescott High School parking lot early Thursday morning - only it's not pink anymore."I'm so thrilled they found the car," said Al Mettner, owner of the property where the Pink Car rested at the corner of Walker and Pink Car Hill roads. "Although the kids painted it school colors - blue and gold." Yavapai County Sheriff's deputies cited four Prescott High School students over the age of 18 for charges ranging from criminal damage to theft for stealing and painting obscene graffiti all over the pink 1939 sedan, said Dwight D'Evelyn, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office at 3:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon.The suspects' names and booking photos are not included in this story per Courier policy not to identify by name people who are charged with misdemeanors.The graffiti included some "very foul things you wouldn't want to publish," D'Evelyn said Thursday morning. "There also appears to be minor damage caused when people were moving the car."Two juveniles were issued referrals to the juvenile detention center and 15 to 20 other students were involved, D'Evelyn said Thursday afternoon.Mettner had originally planned to keep the suspects out of the court system by having them restore the car. "They're going to pay to have it towed back here, then they're going to set it up on concrete blocks, bolt it down, sand it, and give it a fresh coat of primer and pink paint," Mettner said Thursday morning. "They're going to do all the work themselves."But D'Evelyn said the court couldn't actually order the primary suspects to restore the car to its previous condition. "One of the reasons the primary suspects were cited was that the court can order them to pay restitution," D'Evelyn said.Prescott police notified the Sheriff's Office at 7 a.m. that a school employee found the Pink Car at the school's parking lot, had it taken to the district's bus barn, and police and deputies had it towed from there to an impound yard.Betsy Bykerk, a longtime Walker resident, said Thursday morning that she and other Walker community members received an email this morning from the Walker Fire Protection Association saying that the Walker landmark that sat at the corner of Pink Car Hill Road and Walker Road had been found at the high school."This is not a prank! Not for this community," Bykerk said.The email also said employees at the Prescott High School maintenance facility volunteered to repaint the car if the Walker community provides the paint and primer."These kids should be held responsible, required to provide the primer and paint, and overseen by school authorities and/or their parents to do the job themselves," Bykerk said. Instead, PUSD bus barn staff will strip the graffiti and paint from the Pink Car, and Walker Fire volunteers are going to donate the paint, and either the bus barn staff will repaint the car or it will be done at an auto body shop, D'Evelyn said.On Monday, witnesses told deputies they saw a white full-size pickup truck towing the Pink Car on a trailer away from the area around 5 p.m. A blue tarp covered the vehicle on the trailer, but the witness told deputies he could still see a portion of the pink-colored sedan's body.Deputies and Mettner said then they were concerned the suspects might be metal thieves intending to scrap the car for cash.The Pink Car's origins date back to 1939, when it was left at on the property by a local doctor after he rolled the car. His insurance company paid him for it, so he left it where it was.Back then, there were no roads in the area, so the Forest Service painted it pink as a point of reference for area residents, and neighbors have been painting it pink ever since.ORIGINAL REPORT:Yavapai County Sheriff's deputies are seeking people's help finding the person who on Tuesday evening stole the Pink Car, a landmark in Walker that rested at the corner of Pink Car Hill Road and Walker Road.Witnesses told deputies they saw a white full-size pickup truck towing the Pink Car on a trailer away from the area around 5 p.m., said Dwight D'Evelyn, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman. A blue tarp covered the vehicle on the trailer, but the witness told deputies he could still see a portion of the pink-colored sedan's body.The Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information regarding this theft to call YCSO at 928-771-3260 or Yavapai Silent Witness at 1-800-932-3232. Callers to Silent Witness remain anonymous and will become eligible for a cash reward should an arrest occur based on the tip.Deputies and the car's owner, Al Mettner, said they think the person who stole the Pink Car might be metal thieves intending to scrap the car for cash.Mettner said the Pink Car, a 1939 Dodge sedan without its engine, has rested there for 73 years. D'Evelyn said deputies think the Pink Car's body might be of a Ford sedan, and they put out the word to salvage yards to keep an eye out for both."Back at the time when the gold and silver mines were active in this area, a local doctor known as the town drunk rolled the car and left it there," Mettner said. "Insurance paid him for it, so he just left it there."Back then, there were no roads in the area, so the Forest Service painted it pink as a point of reference for area residents, and neighbors have been painting it pink ever since, Mettner said."When I first bought the land, I asked the dozer driver who was putting a road in to haul away the Pink Car," Mettner said. "He told me he couldn't do that because it was a point of reference for all of us. He said APS uses it, the county uses it, the phone company uses it - we all use it."So the car stayed."When they started putting in roads, the county called me and asked, 'What would you like the road to be named?'" Mettner said. "I said Pink Car Hill, of course."Tourists come up to take photos of the Pink Car, and it's on the Google World Map."The Pink Car has become very endearing to us. It's a tragedy it's been stolen," Mettner said. "This is a big deal for the residents here in Walker. We love our Pink Car."Mettner said detectives have been very aggressive in looking for the Pink Car and have contacted salvage yards statewide."We're getting a lot of calls on this, and we are hopeful we'll find the Pink Car soon," D'Evelyn said.