Man sentenced to nine years on dragster theft conviction

John Thompson • Jul 10, 2019 at 11:28 PM

ELIZABETHTON — One of the two men charged in the theft of a drag racing car, parts and tools pleaded guilty in Carter County Criminal Court this week and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Robert Michael Wolfenbarker, 34, pleaded guilty on Monday to seven counts, including theft over $60,000; two counts of theft over $2,500; auto burglary; theft under $1,000; attempted auto burglary; and vandalism under $1,000.

Another defendant in the case, G.C. Lingerfelt, faces the identical charges. Lingerfelt’s next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 9.

Judge Lisa Rice denied probation and sentenced Wolfenbarker to nine years in prison on the theft over $60,000 conviction. He is categorized as a standard offender, which means he must serve 30 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Wolfenbarker was given pretrial jail credit for approximately seven months.

According to victims loss statements, Wolfenbarker was accused of stealing a 1989 Ford hatchback Foxbody Mustang X275 custom drag car, valued at $60,000 and a trailer stocked with tools and car parts.

One victim wrote in the loss statement that the theft “created enormous amounts of emotional stress, antiety, depression … this outrageous act of greed, laziness and selfishness has not only affected us but also our close family. It was much more than just a car. It was our family time, our vacation time and time spent with other racing families like us.”

Assistant District Attorney Dennis Brooks prosecuted Wolfenbarker. Wesley Taylor was the defense attorney.

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