Three 11-year-old boys stole a forklift Thursday and were caught redhanded ramming it into vehicles and vandalizing other equipment in a storage yard, Payson Police Lt. Don Engler said.
Passersby Ty Chilson and Kenny Calloway caught two of the boys at 4:30 p.m. and held them until police arrived, Engler said.
The boys climbed into a fenced storage yard for a local drilling company on Aero Drive, found a key to the forklift and rammed it into everything in sight, Payson Police Officer Les Barr said.
"They flipped a generator, rammed the cabs of several trucks and the tires of a big oil rig, punctured the box of a moving van-type truck, ripped down an adjoining fence at a water treatment facility operated by the town, picked up metal backhoe scoops and threw them around, destroyed bags of sand and other construction materials, and even punctured and set off fire extinguishers," Barr said.
The trio started vandalizing the yard Wednesday and came back the following day to finish the job, the officer said.
"It was kind of scary," Barr said, "because they showed no remorse. They said they were just trying to have some fun."
One of the boys, Barr said, was scheduled to receive a school award Friday for good grades and citizenship.
During questioning, the trio said they also had vandalized the Sawmill Crossing area during the past month, the officer said.
The three children were each charged with criminal damage, criminal trespass and burglary.
The two youths apprehended at the scene were transferred to the juvenile detention facility in Globe.
The third participant was arrested Friday evening and returned to the custody of his parents.