Crime - Sacto 911

Yabba Dabba Don’t: Thief steals Flintmobile from Arden Arcade comic book store

There’s a missing Flintmobile, but the stolen property report was filed in Sacramento County, not Bedrock.

The Flintmobile in this case was the property of Dave Downey, operator of World’s Best Comics on Watt Avenue in Arden Arcade. The Stone Age replica was parked outside his store to the delight of children and adults who liked to sit in it – until Friday, when somebody made off with it.

Downey has reported the theft to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

“The Flintstones” was an animated, prime-time cartoon series that ran during the 1960s. The cartoon used characterizations from “The Honeymooners,” the situation comedy starring Jackie Gleason.

The cartoons starred Fred and Wilma Flintstone and their neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble. Set in the town of Bedrock, the cartoons featured inventive comedic touches in which animals and birds substituted for inanimate objects such car horns and garbage disposals.

In the cartoon, Fred and Wilma’s vehicle was made from wood, stone and animal skins. The stolen comic book store Flintmobile was constructed of wood, oil drums, screws and cloth.

As the series theme song said, the cartoon model was powered by Fred’s bare feet:

“Flintstone. Meet the Flintstones. They’re the modern Stone Age family. From the town of Bedrock, they’re a page right out of history. Let’s ride with the family down the street, through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet.”

Downey’s comic store model, given to him by the customer who built it, was meant to float in a river parade. The oil drum wheels do not turn.

That means the thieves had to pick up the heavy Flintmobile and put it on a truck or trailer. In the cartoon, Barney and Betty’s extra-strong son Bamm-Bamm could have easily picked up the Flintmobile, but the comic book store replica was too heavy for one person to lift.

“I could lift up one end, but not the whole thing,” Downey said.

Then there is the question: Where do you hide such a recognizable vehicle?

“There’s got to be somebody willing to come forward,” Downey said.

Downey has offered a reward for return of the Flintmobile. The reward is not Pebbles cereal, Flintstones vitamins or Winston cigarettes, which Fred smoked in commercials that ran with the show.

“The reward is a six-pack of Cactus Cooler, the drink that the Flintstones made famous,” Downey said. “In at least one episode Fred says his favorite drink is Cactus Cooler.”

Downey was hoping that a security camera at an adjacent bowling alley might have captured the theft on video. A photographic break in the case occurred Wednesday when he received a photo snapped in Folsom on East Bidwell Street Friday night of the Flintmobile on the back of a pickup truck.

The person who took the picture from another vehicle was nice enough to send the photo to Downey when he heard a news report of the missing Flintmobile.

“That is it,” Downey said. “The tailgate is down so you can’t see the license plate.”