Two Mecklenburg teenagers have been charged with a break-in at the old Land of Oz amusement park, Beech Mountain Police said Wednesday.
Surveillance video on March 31 showed the two teenagers – a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl – breaking into the door of Dorothy’s farmhouse at the historic attraction atop Beech Mountain.
Cameras also recorded the license number of their car, which led to the teens, Capt. Tim Barnett said. They were not identified because of their age, he said.
Accompanied by one of their mothers, the teens turned themselves in to police Friday and were cited for criminal misdemeanor damage to real property and trespassing, Barnett said. They were high school students from Charlotte, he said, who maintained excellent grades and had never been in trouble before.
After breaking the door, they fled from park when a burglar alarm went off. Nothing inside Dorothy’s house – furnished like the one in the classic 1939 “Wizard of Oz” movie – was disturbed.
Vandalism has been a problem at Land of Oz, which closed in 1980 but is still used for festivals and group events. Hundreds of pieces of the park’s signature Yellow Brick Road have been taken by souvenir hunters.
Drawn by Internet pages that feature pictures of the park’s remaining icons and declare it an abandoned relic, vandals and trespassers began sneaking into Oz in recent years.
Two other trespassers were caught in the park over the weekend and cited by police, Barnett said.
Tours of the park are offered annually in June. Tourists can even rent Dorothy’s farmhouse for about $200 a night.
On the first weekend of October, its “Autumn at Oz” festival attracts sellout crowds of 8,000. In the summer, the park is rented out for weddings, birthday parties, family reunions, even book club meetings.