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Stolen Car Returned After 25 Years

…gives you a little faith in justice.

The world has a wonderful way of righting itself every so often. Those times that justice is served and wrongs are righted. These moments do not always happen quickly, but when they do, it warms the heart and gives you a little faith in justice.

Sometimes, those moments take 25 years to happen

In 1982, Scott Evans was serving in the United States Marine Corp. It was while serving his country that he discovered that his prized possession, a 1965 Shelby GT-350 Mustang was stolen. The car was not only a classic car and piece of Americana, but it also held huge sentimental value to Evans, as his father had helped him purchase it in the 1970s. After learning that the car had been stolen, Evans made a promised his father that he would recover the Shelby. When his father passed away of Alzheimer’s Disease several years later, Evans was further resolved, and made a solemn vow that he would recover the car before he died.

It was a vow that took 25 years to honor

The car had been a long time dream of Evans as a young man in the 1970s. He would drive by an apartment complex on Oakridge Road in Orlando, where he would see the car parked. It was on a fateful day in 1971 that he drove by that same apartment complex and noticed a ‘For Sale’ sign on the Shelby. Immediately he pulled over and before long, he had paid the $1,600 for the Ford.

When the car was reported stolen in 1982, many pushed Evans to give up and accept that he’d never see the car again. Evans felt a connection with the car, and refused to believe that it would be gone forever. Evans contacted the police, the director of a car club, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau before being deployed to Japan to serve in the Marines. Because of his deployment, the car’s information in the National Crime Information Center was short lived, and quickly deleted when Evans could not be reached while on deployment.

During that time, the car was sent through a Mustang restoration shop where the ID plate on the Shelby was replaced. The car was then sold to a party in Long Island. The car remained with that family for three years, when it was sold again to another party and remained there for twenty two years. Upon the death of the owner, the car was passed down to his son.

In 2007, Howard Parde from the Shelby Club of America, contacted the son. Parde, the registrar of the Shelby Club of America, suspected that the car that the son was in possession of was actually the stolen car that Evans had contacted the club about in 1982.

Before the car could be confiscated and returned to Evans, it needed to be returned to the NCIC. With the help of the Havlock Police department. The car was returned to the NCIC after Parde educated the police on recognizing a counterfeit VIN number. Once that had happened, the police confiscated the car from the son. The son was understandably confused and concerned. He had a hard time understanding how a car that had been in his family for twenty two years could be stolen.  The son had even gone so far as to replace the engine in the car and had done his part to keep the car in top notch condition. Evans, a man of principal and honor, repaid the son $12,000 for the engine when he picked up the car twelve weeks after it had been recovered.

Evans was reassured when he sat down in the car that it was in fact his prized possession that he purchased twenty five years previously with the help of his father, noting the crack in the steering wheel and the special gasket for the gas cap that Evans had made himself. If that hadn’t been proof enough, Evans discovered his own name written in ink on top of the transmission.

The car, while priceless to Evans, has appreciated greatly in value throughout the years. His original investment of $1,600 and the $12,000 he repaid the son is a drop in the bucket compared to the value of the car in its current mint condition, which Evans estimates at being between $240-400 thousand dollars.

Evans credits the return of his car largely to the NICB and the work they do for car owners in crisis. “I think they’re awesome,” said Evans.

And really, who could blame him?

video source:
InsuranceCrime (Dec 27, 2011) – “1965 Shelby GT-350 Mustang Stolen and Recovered 25 Years Later”