Serpa Auto Vandalized

March 3, 2008 8:17:38 PM PST
A South Valley car dealership is fighting back after vandals tried to destroy more than 30 cars, including one that was going to be donated to charity.This car suffered the most damage to the point that it isn't worth it to the dealer to pay the $9-thousand dollars it would cost in repairs. Within a two week period, dozens of cars were vandalized, costing the Serpa Auto Dealership tens of thousands of dollars.

Smashed windows, slashed tires, and writing in permanent paint was left on just one of over 30 cars vandalized at the Serpa Auto Dealership in Visalia. Serpa owns three separate dealerships that are adjacent to each other on Ben Maddox Way.

Frank Serpa, Serpa Automotive President: "I don't know why they would do this to me I mean all I do is work work work ."

Owner Frank Serpa says the suspects broke in by cutting a large hole through this wooden fence. Serpa says the dealership has been vandalized two other times since the first of the year. Police say the suspects used a crowbar to cause most of the damage.

Sgt. Allyn Wightman, Visalia Police Dept.: "A security guard for a neighboring dealership across the street heard a lot of noise and observed two subjects running through the lot fleeing the area."

Even this car set aside to be donated to the Visalia emergency aid for someone in need can't be driven again.

Serpa: "This one now it was ok but now it's busted all the windows are busted the front window the side windows the other windows everything is busted."

A surveillance camera looks over the fence where the suspects broke in but the light next to the camera was broken. Serpa has since repaired and added additional lights.

He's also fixing other broken cameras.

For the first time since his dealerships opened in 1991, Serpa is paying for an overnight security guard.

Serpa: "That affects my employees their families affects the people in the community, everyone, and this is why it eats me up."

Police haven't identified any of the suspects but say they're fingerprinting a metal sign that was thrown into one of the cars.

They're asking anyone with information to come forward.

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