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Shinnston drive-in theater set to open after vandalism

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 5:15 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - The Sunset drive-in in Shinnston was supposed to already be open to movie lovers but, the drive-in remains closed... thanks to vandals.

When John Ellis went into his family drive-in in January to check things out he said he was met with a nasty surprise.

“The first thing I noticed when I came in is silence. That’s not a good thing for me to hear. I’m supposed to hear the machine running, but I heard nothing.”

That’s when john walked in and his heart dropped.

“The whole place looked like it was a dump. It was like when you walk into a dump and see everything. That’s what it was, everything got trashed,” said Ellis.

At some point during the winter vandals broke into the drive-in and stole stuff from the projector building and left a mess in their wake.

Ellis said there was no rhyme or reason to what they stole.

They took audio cables, a compressor, lights and, even a coffee machine.

“They took my coffee machine! A little 5 cup coffee machine. It was 20 years old! they took it!” said Ellis.

Luckily the two most important things to running the drive-in were left pretty much intact.

The F.M. radio that provides sound to the cars and, the projector.

So, that’s when john got to work.

“We’ve just started shoving stuff around. I’ve already filled three big things of garbage and I just said, if I don’t think I can use it it’s going into the trash.”

This cleanup has taken a toll on John, making him wonder if they should even open up this season but, after two delays and a lot of cleaning they are finally getting ready to open.

He said no matter what they will be opening on June 10th.

Ellis said there’s one thing that’s kept him going throughout all the problems.

“You walk through the field and the kids are laughing. It is the most heartwarming and true laugh you’d ever want to hear. You can’t help but grin and laugh yourself so, that makes it worth it.”

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