It disappeared 17 years ago…


We cover a lot of stolen car stories, both of classic models and modern collectibles, but rarely is there a happy ending. That’s what makes this story of a man from Spotsylvania, Virginia who had his 1969 Chevrolet Camaro stolen back in 2003 and that was recently recovered so amazing. This provides hope for everybody who’s had their classic muscle car swiped.

Tommy Cook told the local news he never gave up on finding his beloved ’69 Camaro. It was located at an auto shop in Maryland, so it didn’t travel far at all. The last time Cook saw it, the muscle car was sitting in his auto repair shop lot, the engine removed. He went to Maryland to look at a1968 Camaro someone else was interested in possibly buying, and when he returned the car was gone.

Since that date, Cook continued to renew the missing status of his car faithfully. He felt if he kept it on the police’s radar it would one day turn up and that strategy panned out.

It was when Cook was checking out yet another 1968 Camaro for a friend recently in Maryland that he spotted a 1969 Camaro without a hood in the corner of the garage. It was painted Rallye Green, but the seller said the ’69 was originally Hugger Orange, the same color as Cook’s stolen car.

Then the seller told Cook the car was manufactured in California, but the VIN indicated it was out of the Norwood, Ohio plant. That really raised the man’s suspicions. The fact it had factory-installed brackets for fold-down seats (but no seats) and that option was rare, something his car had, he kept looking the thing over.

Finally, Cook checked out the VIN in the engine compartment, but it looked like someone smeared Bondo over it to obscure the numbers. Despite their effort, he could still read the VIN, which he copied down. Then he went home and confirmed the car was his.

We’ll commend Cook for not going back to the shop and busting the chops of the guy selling the 1968 Camaro. Instead, he called the local police, who at first were shocked Cook had kept looking for his vehicle for 17 years.

It turns out the seller wasn’t the one who stole the car, so he was an innocent victim just like Cook. He cooperated with police, who took the 1969 Camaro and turned it over to its rightful owner. The police were able to determine the vehicle had been with four different “owners” after it was stolen.

We’re hoping Cook keeps the thing locked up nice and tight now. With how hot 1969 Chevy Camaros are, there are plenty of people willing to go to great lengths to steal one.

Source: The Daily Progress