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STOLEN CAR RECOVERED INTACT AFTER 37 YEARS

 
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editor
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 6:42 pm    Post subject: STOLEN CAR RECOVERED INTACT AFTER 37 YEARS Reply with quote

FROM FORUM IN THE USA - Thursday , March 20, 2008
==============================================

After 37 years a Los Angeles man may finally get his stolen Mustang back.

Eugene Brakke was recently told by the San Diego Police Department auto theft unit that his 1965 Mustang was found in their city, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

In 1970 Brakke reported it stolen and filed a report with the Burbank Police Department, the newspaper reported.

Police told the newspaper that a San Diego woman was given the Mustang as a high school graduation gift from her father in 1970. When she recently tried to sell it, she learned it was stolen.

But, according to the woman, it is unclear if Brakke wants to car back, because he told her it is "just not the same," the newspaper reported.

According to the story in the LA times, the guy was "a young, single guy" who drove the car to work and parked it in the lot at the Lockheed plant in Burbank, Calif, in May, 1970. When he got off work, the car was gone.

A man bought the car from a used car lot one week later, and gave it to his now 55 year old daughter for a High School graduation present. He paid $1,114.00 from a lot in Bellflower. She has owned it since. it has been painted twice over the years, and just had the engine rebuild for the second time. A neighbor was looking at the car with the intent of purchasing it. He discovered the VIN tag on the door didn't match the one in the engine compartment. The lady notified the San Diego PD, and they gave the car a clean bill of health. The two tags still bothered her, so she contacted the DMV. One tag identified the car as having been built in San Jose, the other said it was built in Dearborn.

After contacting the DMV, she was contacted by detectives who informed her the car was stolen and they had identified the rightful owner.

The real owner purchased it painted "Honey Gold. He stated if he decides to keep it, he will have it repainted back to original.
The lady is sad, since she has owned it since she was 18, and recently spent over $4000. in restoration. It looks very nice, as far as you can tell on TV.

I'm sure it will have a happy ending. I'm predicting the ol' guy will do the right thing. Maybe he will will it to her in 20 years when he passes on..!


Last edited by editor on Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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tudorchev



Joined: 17 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a great story Ed. But I hope the same thing doesn't happen when my daughter graduates Shocked But then again the car she will get wont have that horrible blue oval on the front. Laughing
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editor
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a much longer version of the Stolen Car Story:

===============================================

After 38 years, a Los Angeles man is finally getting his stolen Mustang back. Eugene Brakke reported his 1965 Mustang stolen to Burbank police in May 1970. One month later a Long Beach teenager named Judy Smongesky (smahn-JES'-kee) received the car as a high school graduation gift from her father. They bought it at a Bellflower used car dealer. Smongesky, who now lives in San Diego, says she had been driving and maintaining the car for nearly four decades, and only learned that it had been stolen when she recently prepared to sell it. Eugene Brakke of Los Angeles reported to Burbank police in May 1970 that the car had been stolen, said San Diego police Detective Gary Hassen. Judy Smongesky of Cathedral City in San Diego County told police she received the Mustang as a high school graduation gift from her father in June 1970, he said. Smongesky said she only recently discovered the car was stolen when she tried to sell it, he said.

Eugene Brakke's 1965 honey-gold, 289-cubic-inch V-8 Ford Mustang was stolen in May 1970. One month later, the father of a Long Beach, Calif., teenager named Judy Smongesky did what fathers did in those days and bought her a Mustang as a high school graduation gift. He got it from a used car dealer. She drove the car for some 20 years and 300,000 miles before she parked it in her garage with the intent to fully restore it, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Smongesky, now 55 and living in San Diego, said Thursday she only learned that it had been stolen when she recently prepared to sell it and wanted to clear up a discrepancy: The car had two different vehicle identification numbers, one on the door, the other under the hood. Smongesky, now of San Diego, said Thursday she learned it had been stolen when she recently prepared to sell it. Brakke found out Smongesky had twice rebuilt the engine and painted the Mustang from its old gold to silver-blue.

According to the woman, it is unclear if Brakke wants to car back, because he told her it is "just not the same," the newspaper reported.

Police notified him this week that his long-lost car has been recovered. He has not decided whether he wants it back, said Smongesky of City Heights. Smongesky and her dad, who lived in Long Beach at the time, had looked at another car before they found the Mustang for sale at what she remembers was a used-car lot in Bellflower. She got behind the wheel and fell in love with it. They paid $1,114 for the harvest-gold car with a 289-cubic-inch V-8 engine and 69,000 miles on the odometer. She drove the car for 20 years and rebuilt the engine and repainted the body twice before she parked it in her garage with the intent to fully restore it. Police checked the VIN under the hood and discovered the car was hot. "It's his car, even though he had it for four years and I had it for 38," Smongesky said. "He seems like a real nice gentleman, though." Brakke, now 80 and living in Costa Mesa, found out Smongesky had twice rebuilt the engine and painted the Mustang from its old gold color to silver-blue. (You could hear his groans coast to coast.) "He wasn't too happy with that," Smongesky said. That was the smooth color in 1965, the Los Angeles Times said in its story.

The last time Eugene Brakke drove his honey-gold 1965 Ford Mustang, he was young and single, and the throaty little sports car "certainly didn't hurt" with the ladies. He parked at work that day in May 1970, at the Lockheed plant in Burbank, and when he came out later it was gone. The police asked him how much gas was in the tank, suggesting the thieves may have just taken it out for a joy ride. With gas at about 36 cents a gallon then, he thought they could probably afford to buy some more.

==============================================================================================

SAN DIEGO:

It turns out the beloved 1965 Ford Mustang coupe Judy Smongesky has had since high school graduation nearly 38 years ago doesn't really belong to her. Judy Smongesky of City Heights said she is resigned to the fact that she may lose the car she believed was hers for almost four decades. SAN DIEGO -- When Judy Smongesky graduated from high school in 1970, her father gave her a truly cool present -- a 1965 Ford Mustang.

Recently, though, Smongesky grew suspicious herself while restoring the Mustang and realizing that it had two different vehicle-identification numbers, one on the firewall, the other on the driver's side door. "And I just had a feeling in my heart that I needed to clarify this before I put any more money up," she said. Smongesky, a 35-year San Diego resident, said she hopes to be able to keep the Mustang -- now repainted silverish-blue -- but realizes that, ultimately, it's up to Brakke, who reported it stolen in 1970. "Of course, he could always take the car as is, right now, and then I'm out of a car," she said. Smongesky said her father was as surprised as she was to hear that he'd unwittingly bought a stolen car for nearly four decades ago. He adopted a philosophical attitude. "He said, `Well, Judy, just chalk it up to experience,"' she said.Brakke had ordered that honey-gold from the factory. That was the smooth color in 1965. Don't be mistaken: If it hadn't been stolen, a honey-gold 1965 Mustang would be parked in his driveway to this day -- next to his 1959 Ford Ranchero. "When I get a car, I take care of it and I like it, and it becomes a member of my family," he said. He planned to pick it up in San Diego on Thursday but decided he didn't feel up to fighting traffic. He's not sure if he'll keep it. If it's in good shape, he thinks he might have it painted honey-gold.

=============================================
=============================================

SAN DIEGO:

The wheels of justice sometime turn slowly. A Los Angeles-area man who reported his 1965 Mustang stolen 37 years ago could be getting the car back.

This week, San Diego police confirmed the City Heights resident's nagging suspicions by informing her that her beloved car was stolen. They also broke the news that they had found the Mustang's rightful owner, she said. San Diego Police Department auto theft detectives recently told Eugene Brakke that the car had been found here, said Detective Gary Hassen. Brakke held hopes that it would turn up somewhere. He loved that car like a member of his family. Eventually, he figured it was gone -- meaning somewhere in Tijuana. Then this week -- Monday or Tuesday, he can't remember -- he got a call from a detective at the San Diego Police Department.

One tag identified the car as having been built in San Jose. The other said it was built in Dearborn, Mich. She didn't want to invest any more money until she was sure that it was legally her car. She investigated on the Internet, and contacted the Department of Motor Vehicles and police again. Police detectives called her back and said it had been stolen and that they had found the owner. Legally, it was his, if he wanted it, they said. "It is his car and he could take it, even though I spent all this money," Smongesky said. "This is my baby.The woman, Judy Smongesky, has owned the vehicle since, not knowing that it was stolen, Hassen said. Hassen said Smongesky found out the car was stolen when she recently tried to sell it. Smongesky said Thursday that it is unclear if Brakke wants the car back, as it has been repainted and he told her that it is "just not the same. Smongesky, who now lives in City Heights, had planned to sell the Mustang. In the process of doing the paperwork, she discovered that the vehicle identification number on the door did not match the number on the firewall. She told police, and after some searching, they discovered it was stolen. The Mustang's engine was recently rebuilt for the second time, according to Smongesky, who also replaced the gas tank as well as some other parts in an effort to restore the car, which she estimates has 300,000 miles on it. Smongesky called police, who checked the VIN under the hood and discovered that the car was stolen. It turns out the driver's side car door belonged to a different car. Smongesky has spoken to Brakke, who said he wants to see it but has not stated what he plans to do. She said he did not seem happy or excited; rather, she said, he seemed dismayed that the car had been painted. "He said it wasn't the same car," Smongesky said. As the rightful owner, he can just get in it and drive away, Smongesky said. She said, she feels like she did the right thing. "And sometimes the right thing is not the easy thing to do," she said. The pair planned to meet up to transfer the car. "It was hard but it was the right thing to do," Smongesky said in an Associated Press story. "I haven't really cried yet, but when he drives it away, I think I'll fall apart." If it hadn't been stolen, that honey-gold 1965 Mustang would be parked in Brakke's driveway to this day -- next to his 1959 Ford Ranchero, the Times said.

Brakke "seems willing to work something out," Smongesky said Thursday morning. Her father, now 80 and living in Los Alamitos, bought the gold coupe from a used-car dealer in Bellflower to give to his then-18-year-old daughter for her graduation from high school in Long Beach, where they then lived. Smongesky "loved" the Mustang and enjoyed driving it until about 1990, when she "retired" it because it was no longer running very well, she said. Eugene Brakke, of Los Angeles, is getting his Mustang back, 38 years after it was stolen.Smongesky, 55, has since spoken with that man, Eugene Brakke of Los Angeles, and the two plan to meet soon to discuss what to do about the awkward situation.

The vehicle has an extra 300,000 miles and a different paint job, but Eugene Brakke's 1965 Mustang is evidently running just fine.

Smongesky, 55, who has worked in the restaurant industry, drives a 1990 Honda Civic. She said it does not compare with the Mustang, which has 266,000 miles. She said she does not know what the Mustang is worth the engine is rebuilt but the interior is not in good shape and the silver-blue paint is faded and rusted in some places. She loves it and wants to keep it. Smongesky said she hopes she and Brakke can come to an agreement, but she is resigned to the fact that she may lose the car she believed was hers for almost four decades. "I'm hoping he says, 'You can have it,' but it's his car," she said. "I've had to replace items from the gas tanks to the radiator, and many parts in between," Smongesky said. Smongesky said she has spoken with Brakke, who wants to see the car. She also said police told her that it is between the two of them to decide how to resolve the matter.

Smongesky has been driving the car since 1970, and it is still in good running condition, according to Hassen. Brakke will be in San Diego this afternoon to reclaim the vehicle, Hassen said. A neighbor wanted to buy it. She notified San Diego police, who looked into it and told her the car's history was clean, she said.

Smongesky called police, who sent someone out to look at the Mustang, and was told everything checked out. She didn't worry about the discrepancy again until she recently spent $4,000 restoring the car. Before sinking in more cash, she thought about the vehicle identification numbers. "I had a very bad feeling," she said. She researched the numbers and discovered that the one on the door belonged to a 1964 model. A check of identification numbers revealed that the car had been reported stolen. The vintage vehicle had been reported stolen two weeks before her father bought it as a present when she was 18.

I've had it since I was 18." Brakke said he had been given conflicting reports of its condition. Police told him the car had no engine or transmission, then that it was good to drive. Great, he thought. His enthusiasm waned when the detective mentioned the car was pale blue now.

(source LOS ANGELES (AP))
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