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Talk about a Christmas miracle. A VW Bus that was stolen back in 1974 is finally back with its rightful owner.
Michelle Squires had parked her 1964 VW Bus at an upholstery shop in Spokane, WA., back in the 1970s when it was stolen. When the vehicle could not be found, the insurance company eventually paid out and Squires lost all hope of ever seeing her treasured Vee-dub again.
That is until a custom’s official at the port of Los Angeles discovered it. The Bus was by now fully restored and was on its way to Germany when the customs agent discovered the stolen title on the vehicle and contacted Squires. Reunited at last! Not quite.
You see, since the insurance company had paid out for the Bus, they were the new owners of this vehicle. The insurance company then sent the vehicle to auction, to which Squires also went to buy back her Bus, but she could not match the top bidder.
It looked as if the Bus was now gone again forever. But destiny had other plans. Thanks to an issue with the paperwork, the bus could not leave Southern California and this gave Squires another chance to buy back her Bus.
Finally the Bus and Squires are reunited for good, and this grandmother of three plans to use her Bus for a good old fashioned road trip.
Either stealing a car has become a lot more difficult or the thieves just threw in the towel and decided to try their hand at another career. One thing’s for sure – car thefts were down in 2009.
According to the FBI’s 2009 crime statistics released this week, vehicle thefts dropped 17 percent from 2008. The numbers fell 35.7 percent when compared to 2005 data.
But this doesn’t mean you can stop locking your car when you leave it. There were still 600,000 vehicles stolen last year. High on the “to steal” list is the 1994 Honda Accord for some strange reason (better gas millage perhaps – even thieves are thrifty these days).
But with good news comes some bad news. News from LoJack states that the national recovery rate for stolen cars is at its lowest point in 25 years. This means that 43.2 percent of vehicles stolen in 2009 were never recovered.
According to LoJack, these vehicles are typically stolen by professional thieves. They find their way to chop shops to be stripped down to their components. By stripping the cars down, thieves can make two to four times the vehicle’s actual worth.
Transported across the U.S. boarder, thousands of stolen vehicles are used to commit other crimes or resold as used vehicles, most often to unsuspecting customers. Damn those Canadians and their love of ’94 Accords!