By Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4)– One of two suspects suspected of “keying” a Tesla in September and causing $7,000 damage confessed Tuesday to CBS4.

“It was stupid of me,” said James Harrelson during a phone interview with CBS4, “I wish I had exercised more restraint.”

(credit: CBS)

Thornton police have obtained an arrest warrant for Harrelson, 47, and a second man, Michael Genova, 46, in connection with the incident. Both are wanted on a single count of felony mischief.

On Sept. 4, a 30-year-old woman parked her new 2021 Tesla Model Y car in the parking lot of a Thornton business. She had only owned it for about two weeks. When she came back to the car from shopping, two men had keyed the driver’s side of the car.

Harrelson, who lives in Colorado Springs, told CBS4 was that he was not aware the Tesla is equipped with motion-sensing cameras that record nearby activity when the car is parked. The cameras showed two men briskly walking past the driver’s side of the car, each gouging the car with a key.

Harrelson admitted to CBS4 he “didn’t know it had cameras.”

But after CBS4 broadcast the video, Harrelson, who lives in Colorado Springs, said he had seen the video on TV “many times. I wish I could take it all back,” he said.

In the arrest affidavit for Harrelson and Genova, Thornton police say they identified the men via a separate incident in Glendale, when the men were allegedly involved in a theft. Detectives compared video and pictures from Glendale police with the Thornton incident and were able to match the two men to both cases.

(credit: CBS)

Genova did not respond to an emailed inquiry from CBS4.

Both men were supposed to meet with Thornton police on Oct. 21, but did not show up according to the affidavit, leading to the issuance of the arrest warrants.

Harrelson told CBS4 he keyed the Tesla because he said the driver had nearly hit him before she went shopping, “Absolutely we shouldn’t have done that. I’m pretty ashamed of it.”

He said he didn’t meet with Thornton police in October because he figured he would be arrested that day. Informed of the active arrest warrant, he said, “At this point, I’ll probably turn myself in. We both want to get it over and done with.”

The Tesla owner told CBS4, “It’s good progress and I think only made possible by the news coverage the story got. However, it’s frustrating that they have active warrants and it may go on like this for a while.”

Brian Maass