Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Northgate Mystery #2 Revealed: The Car in the School Prank

From Kenrick Mock:

Here's the car story: Jeff assures me that the statute of limitations has passed, so I guess it's time to come clean and confess about the car left inside Northgate on the last day of school. I suppose this means I can never run for public office or this will get dug up as dirt! Fortunately I have no such ambitions so I'll admit it - I'm partially responsible, although credit (or shame) goes to the other others pictured in the attached photo. I'll leave it a mystery as to who the true mastermind was, although it wasn't me :)

The story begins in 1985 when I bought the book "The Complete Guide to Lockpicking." Much to our surprise it was really easy to pick quite a few locks using just a filed down hacksaw blade and a smashed bicycle spoke. The power to enter locked buildings was too much for mischievous 16 and 17 year-olds to resist, so it wasn't long before we were picking the locks at school late on weekend nights and sneaking around to areas normally forbidden to kids. While it doesn't condone our actions, at least we weren't destructive or malicious - aside from the illicit entry (and moving the car), I think the worst thing we did was to raid a few snacks from the cafeteria. In retrospect it didn't make much sense - after spending all day in school why sneak BACK into school on our WEEKENDS and risk getting thrown into JAIL for some frozen burritos and cherry turnovers? Oh yeah, the indiscretion of youth.

With the end of our senior year approaching we bandied about ideas on what to do as a senior prank. We had some crazy ones, like herding cows from Shell Ridge into the school or inflating thousands of balloons. Somehow we ended up on the idea of moving one of the cars from the fenced yard on the east side of the school used for auto shop to the area in front of the library.

Around 2 AM on the last day of school we opened up the fence and pushed the car out of the yard and up the dirt hill parallel to Castle Rock Road. We headed toward the double doors by the science classrooms, as that was the closest door wide enough to fit the car. The pushing was a lot of work, as the car didn't have inflated wheels, but after some effort we made it. We had people acting as lookouts to signal in case anyone was coming. A car drove up the road, and we hid, but the car just kept on driving. It was all a pretty well-coordinated operation! Once we got inside the rest was easy. The only minor hurdles were removing some of the door posts and schooching around a tight corner. Someone found a "No Parking" sign and that completed the prank!

The real drama, at least for me, came earlier that night. The doors had a little button that popped out when the doors opened, just like the button inside a refrigerator door that automatically turn on the light. We surmised that the button might trigger a silent alarm and decided to disable it by unscrewing the button and disconnecting the wire. Since this would trigger the alarm for a brief moment, we decided to do it earlier that night near the end of the school dance. Ideally we would have disabled the button earlier, but we didn't realize the car wouldn't fit through the door we initially selected until the afternoon before the last day of class. It would only take a few minutes to disconnect the wire and even if security came to check it out we would be long gone by the time they got there.

It sounded good, but what happened instead is a police car appeared and interrupted our little button operation by shining a spotlight on me! Scared witless, I bolted toward the front of the school. My accomplice escaped inside the school (I don't think the police ever saw him) while the police car followed me. I ended up running into Cancer Cove and managed to unlock one of the doors and escape inside the school in the nick of time, just as the police car was driving into the alley. I'm not sure if they saw me go in, but I did see them shine their flashlights around and shake the locked doors. WHEW, that was a close one. The adrenaline was really going amidst thoughts of taking a ride in the back of the police car. It served as a good deterrent though - since then, the lock picking tools only get used when I lock myself out of a door or cabinet.

Here's a grainy picture taken of the instigators, from left to right: Lesley Chiu, Kerry O'Boyle, Gary Voerge, Kenrick Mock, Brian Hazen, Torsten Kimura, Mike Noh. I think Bob Arthur might have taken the picture? I'm pretty sure there was someone else there too but my memory is a little hazy. Maybe they will volunteer to comment!


Elizabeth said...

Whoo-hoo! I love it! Well done ;-)

Dr. Jeff said...

I was always confused about whose car it was, and what happened to it after. Because it was a junker, it didn't matter!

John E. said...

Kudos! It really was a great prank. And all this time I thought you guys used the master key I nicked but you were even better than that. Fantastic. Thanks for sharing the photo.