September 19, 2013

Two Maine boys, 8 and 10, charged in vandalism of rare cars

The young boys cause about $10,000 in damage by slashing tires, scratching paint and causing dents at a Skowhegan car repair shop.

By DOUG HARLOW Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN — Police have charged two young boys, ages 8 and 10, in connection with thousands of dollars’ worth of vandalism to rare and expensive cars on Madison Avenue over the weekend.

click image to enlarge

Dominick Rinaldi Jr. shows the damage to a rare 1961 Chrysler 300G that was vandalized last weekend at his shop in Skowhegan, where it was undergoing restoration. He said he hopes the boys who caused the damage get the help they need.

David Leaming / Morning Sentinel

The vehicles include a red 1961 Chrysler 300G estimated to be worth $100,000, according to Dominick Rinaldi Jr., co-owner of Rinaldi & Sons Auto Repairs, where the vandalism occurred.

Skowhegan police Chief Ted Blais would not provide details of the investigation but said the boys are from the neighborhood.

“It’s really sad that these two young boys at that age were left unattended that long,” Blais said. “It took them some time to cause that amount of damage. Now it’s going to have to go into the court system.”

He said the cases will be turned over to the juvenile division of the district attorney’s office for possible prosecution.

The boys’ names are being withheld because of their ages. The names can be released later if the boys are charged with felonies in a formal juvenile petition.

“There’s thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. If it was an adult, it would be a serious felony crime,” Blais said.

The overall crime rate in the state dropped last year, but juvenile arrests were up 0.6 percent, according to the 2012 Crime in Maine report released in May. The juvenile arrest rate dropped 16 percent in 2011 and was down all three of the previous years.

Blais said 18 vehicle tires were slashed in the Skowhegan incident, paint was scratched on several of the cars and they were rifled through, jumped on and stepped on.

The Chrysler’s windshield was smashed and the roof and hood were dented. He said the six cars that were damaged also included a Porsche and a Volvo.

Rinaldi said the Chrysler “letter cars” – the one at his shop is a 300G – were the first of the high-performance “muscle cars” built in the early 1960s.

According to the Hagerty Classic Car Price Guide, 1,280 hardtops and 337 convertibles of the 300G model were made.

The average price for the convertible is $115,209 and the average price for the hardtop is $51,280, according to the guide, which is recommended by the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Owls Head as a tool for pricing antique cars.

In addition to damage to the cars, a fire extinguisher was discharged in a Wellcraft power boat, damaging the interior, Rinaldi said.

He said all the damaged cars and the boat belong to customers, who were notified of the damage.

He estimated the damage to be about $10,000, most of which he will have to pay out of pocket because the insurance deductible is applied to each car individually, not as a group.

Blais and Rinaldi said the boys are going to need help to get them through the judicial process and onto a productive track.

“It’s just so disheartening, the whole situation,” Rinaldi said. “Whatever the ruling of the court is, these boys need to be evaluated by counselors to see where this problem really lies. I’d like to see them get the help that they need.”

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

dharlow@mainetoday.com

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