A Texas man whose prized sports car was stolen 42 years ago recovered the vehicle in California after seeing it on ebay, authorities said Sunday.
Robert Russell told officials of the Los Angeles County sheriff, that he had never stopped looking for the 1967 Austin-Healey, after it was stolen from his home in Philadelphia in 1970.
The 66-year-old retired director of sales from Southlake told the news media, that he paid a friend $3,000 to buy the car. It had a sentimental value for him, since it was stolen the morning after he took his future wife out on their second date.
Russell said he spent several years surfing the Internet looking for the car and did not have much hope of finding it. "The fact that the car still exists is unlikely," he told himself. "It could have been discarded or destroyed."
He said he regularly checked ebay and saw the car for sale a few weeks ago. He immediately called the Beverly Hills car dealership that was selling the car.
He said the vehicle identification number matched that of his car. He had the original key and car title, but not a copy of the report to show that the car was stolen.
Russell contacted the Philadelphia police for help and they learned that the stolen car report was not in the national crime database because the vehicle identification number was entered incorrectly.
The report was finally found and the file was reactivated. The Los Angeles authorities then confiscated the car.
Russell and his wife, Cynthia, went to Los Angeles and took possession of the car.
It is now valued at $23,000. "It still works, but the brakes do not work well," he said. "Let's put it back the way it was."