There are thousands of cases of stolen property that go unsolved each year around the world. In fact, most casts of stolen property never get solved, especially if there wasn’t anyone harmed physically in the process. Even when the property is an item with the value of a high priced sports car, police can only take the case so far to see if they can recover the item before letting the case go unsolved. Most of the time cases of stolen property don’t get solved and many of them certainly aren’t solved after forty years.
In 1976 a woman by the name of Modesto Fleming owned a gorgeous C2 Corvette which was stolen. She lived in the Anaheim, CA area and the police weren’t able to find her car. The car was thought to be gone forever and wasn’t expected to be recovered. This was certainly a bit if a heartache for Ms. Fleming, but she moved on and so has the world for many years. This car could have been crashed by the thieves, taken across the border, scrapped for parts or any other number of possible results could have been how the car met its demise.
Recently a 1964 Chevrolet Corvette was in a car show and there was something not quite right about the car. Even though this car had been registered legally for many years and owned by the same person since 1987, the VIN wasn’t what you would expect. The VIN of the Corvette in question didn’t belong to a Corvette at all, but to an Impala from the same year. This was a discrepancy that hadn’t been discovered by anyone for a long time until the car was entered in a car show near Anaheim and was actually the stolen car that had been previously owned by Ms. Fleming.
Once the discrepancy was discovered the police were contacted who then contacted Ms. Fleming in Arizona to inform her that her car was now found. This was verified by using different identifying numbers from other areas of the vehicle to match up the correct VIN with the stolen car from 1976. The man who had owned it since his wife gave it to him as a gift in 1987 had no idea the car was stolen property. The dealership his wife had bought it from had been out if business for some time, making it difficult to follow any tracks backward for the vehicle.
Ms. Fleming now has her car back that she probably never thought would be returned to her after forty years, but unfortunately the person who had owned it for twenty years without knowing the car was stolen no longer has the car he had carefully taken care of. Justice was served in this case, but at the cost of losing something that had been part of a man’s life for two decades. The moral is to make sure your VIN matches the actual vehicle you’re purchasing and to gain a vehicle history report when you buy a vehicle so you don’t end up with stolen property that you weren’t aware was stolen.