In February 1967, a 1953 Triumph Tiger 100 motorcycle was stolen from a man's backyard in Omaha, Neb. More than 45 years later, that same bike was found by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at a Los Angeles port.
The bike was on its way to Yokohama, Japan, when authorities from customs decided to take a closer look, the Orange County Register reported. Upon seeing that bike's vehicle identification number (VIN) matched a bike that was reported stolen way back when, agents seized the bike.
The bike, estimated to be worth around $9,000, was then sent to the California Highway Patrol, which tracked down the owner, now 72 and still living in Nebraska.
Via the OC Register:
Lou Koven, special agent for the National Insurance Crime Bureau, who was in charge of finding the owner, said the owner was in disbelief and shock when contacted about the motorcycle, which had an estimated value of $9,000. When it was stolen, the bike was worth $300.
"He thought I was scamming him," Koven said. "But then the police contacted him, and then he started believing."
Los Angeles Weekly reports that this type of find isn't as rare as one might think. Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles, said that CBP agents recently intercepted two other vehicles stolen at least 20 years ago.
Via L.A. Weekly:
"CBP officers and their law enforcement counterparts check many outbound vehicles on a regular basis. Their success in recovering stolen vehicles is remarkable. A few have nice stories like this one.Omaha.com spoke with the bike's owner, Donald R. Devault, who explained that the bike used to look a lot different. "Back then it was baby blue and it looked like a little toy chopper," he said.
He told the paper that he's looking forward to the reunion. “I’m going to ask her, ‘Where have you been?’ I bet there’s a lot (of) stories she could tell me,” he told Omaha.com. “I wish she could talk because a lot’s happened in 46 years.”
- Crime & Justice