Crime - Sacto 911

McKinley Park trellis thief apologizes, says ‘I’m sort of crazy’

Richard Hengeveld, the man who stole a trellis from McKinley Park and brought it to his niece’s wedding, offered an apology to his family and the rose garden Monday after he was sentenced to one year in county jail.

Under the terms of his no-contest plea, Hengeveld will also be placed on probation for one year and will pay restitution, according to a court spokeswoman.

The amount of the restitution he will owe to Friends of East Sacramento – the nonprofit that runs the rose garden – has yet to be determined.

“I’m sorry to the rose garden. I’m sort of ashamed of myself,” said Hengeveld, 53, in an interview from jail. “I’m sorry to my family. I hope they stay in contact with me.”

Hengeveld was arrested earlier this month after photos of the wedding party posing next to the distinctive rose trellis were posted to Facebook. Hengeveld said he’s been homeless since 2000 and worked previously as a heavy equipment operator.

Hengeveld said his sister had a lightweight plastic trellis for his niece’s April 30 wedding. He decided he could do better.

“I’m sort of crazy that way. Something gets in my head, I get stuck with it and don’t think about the implications,” Hengeveld said during a jail visitation. “This is the first time I messed up this bad.”

Even as Hengeveld offered his apology, he had a hard time resisting smiling when asked about how he moved the 12-foot-tall ornate iron trellis from East Sacramento to West Sacramento’s Broderick neighborhood. He said he managed to ferry the unwieldy structure, which weighs hundreds of pounds, on his bike trailer all the way across town and the Sacramento River. It was returned to the park May 5 on a flatbed truck.

Hengeveld said he needed help getting the trellis from West Sacramento to Natomas but would not reveal who helped him.

He said his family didn’t know it was stolen from the McKinley Park rose garden.

The trellis disappeared from the East Sacramento park early in the morning on April 30 but turned up in a photo on Hengeveld’s Facebook page – in pieces and strapped to a bike trailer – with the note: “Need. A truck to move this arch from brk to natomas. For my nieces wedding today.”

Hengeveld, who asked for reading glasses for his expected six-month jail term, said he wanted to bring it back but needed a ride.

When did he know the theft was a big deal?

“When I made the front page, I knew it,” he said. “I went, ‘Oh my God.’”

A wedding guest who had heard people bragging about the stolen trellis reported the theft to Friends of East Sacramento, a nonprofit group that manages the park’s rose garden. The guest pointed volunteers to Facebook pages that had photos of the trellis being used at the wedding.

The city Police Department located the source of the posts as Kenmar Road in Natomas. They then drove around until they saw it rising above a 6-foot fence of a home where it had been used in the backyard wedding of Tabatha and Alan Yoacham Jr.

Lisa Schmidt, co-founder of Friends of East Sacramento, said Monday that the group is delighted to have the trellis back. “The blessing was the wedding guest who let us know,” she said.

“I’m so grateful it was found that I’m able to laugh about it,” she added.

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