EMPIRE, CA—Rod Whaley's Empire car restoration shop may be called "Classic Dreams" but he says crime along Yosemite Boulevard has become his current nightmare.
"I've had two break-ins this past week," says Whaley. That brings the grand total of break-ins the past two years to 20. Whaley says he's lost at least $250,000 in stolen and vandalized property. It's forced him to get rid of his five best restorers because he's spending so much replacing property that he can't afford to keep paying them.
"They give me this crap about their budget and oh, we don't have any money...try to be in business and not have any money," Whaley says.
Whaley's work restoring rusted out heaps to glossy perfection is world famous. The Vietnam vet says with tools and parts disappearing he's had to focus his attention on security and not the classic rides, "Last night I walked this yard with a shot gun in my hand."