The Flintmobile stolen last month from outside an Arden Arcade comic book store is back home after being found in El Dorado County.
Dave Downey, operator of World’s Best Comics on Watt Avenue, said the model of the foot-powered vehicle driven by cartoon character Fred Flintstone in the 1960s animated television comedy “The Flintstones” was traced to a ranch in the Apple Hill area.
Surveillance footage from a bowling alley next to the comic book store captured the high-school-age culprits loading the Flintmobile into the back of their vehicle, and Sacramento County sheriff’s investigators tracked them down in El Dorado County, Downey said. The Flintmobile was returned Monday and is now chained in place in front of the store.
Downey opted not to pursue charges against the youths, saying he talked with them and they were apologetic. Downey said they agreed to do some work for him around the store.
“I think they did it as a lark and they didn’t realize how the story had blown up,” he said.
News of the theft went worldwide. The story was picked up by CNN and was reported by media in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and India.
Downey was contacted by Mark Runyan of Folsom, who had heard about the theft and offered to donate a replica of the Flintmobile that he had built for Halloween. It was delivered to the store last week, and now both vehicles are on display. Downey said he will ask Runyan whether he wants his vehicle back. If not, Downey said, he will incorporate it in a play area in his backyard for his 2-year-old daughter.