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The Globe and Mail

Man reunited with stolen car 40 years later

How often have you lost something, only to have it turn up when you least expect it? For one Texas man, devotion and a bit of luck led him to his stolen convertible – more than four decades after it disappeared.

When Bob Russell's prized 1967 Austin Healy was stolen from him 42 years ago, he never gave up hope he would find it again. According to the Dallas Morning News, the fateful day happened when Mr. Russell was a graduate student at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1970.  He parked his cream-coloured convertible outside an apartment complex after a date with his future wife, but when he returned to the lot the next morning, it was gone.

Mr. Russell spent years looking for his car on the internet, in vain, until earlier this year when he was trawling eBay and spotted his car listed by a Los Angeles dealer. "The fact that the car still exists is improbable," he told the Dallas Morning News. "It could have been junked or wrecked."

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The VIN number matched and he still had the original title and set of keys. So he decided to contact the dealer to tell him the car was stolen.

The dealer responded by offering to sell it back to him for $24,000.

Mr. Russell tried enlisting the help of Los Angeles police, but they couldn't do anything because there was no record of the car being stolen. Undeterred, he turned to Philadelphia police, who after investigating further, discovered the theft wasn't properly reported because the VIN number was originally entered incorrectly by FBI.

After paying $600 in fees and $800 in shipping costs, man and car were reunited. Russell plans to restore the Austin Healey, which he says is worth $20,000 to $30,000, he told the Dallas Morning News.

What's the most significant item you've ever had stolen? And were you ever reunited with it again?

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