‘Papa John’s’ Camaro stolen, recovered

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Three collector cars were stolen during this year’s annual Detroit-area Woodward Dream Cruise festivities, including the famed 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 owned by John Schnatter of the Papa John’s pizza chain. The Camaro had been inside a trailer attached to a truck that was parked at 960 E. Woodbridge at midnight. At 7:30 a.m. Sunday, the truck, trailer and Camaro were reported missing.

According to published reports, police recovered the truck nearby, then later found the Camaro in a driveway of an abandoned house on Detroit’s west side.

Schnatter, founder of the pizza chain, originally sold the gold-and-black Camaro Z28 for $2,800 in 1983 to keep the family business afloat.

He used the money to help rescue is father’s tavern in Jeffersonville, Ind., and he used the remainder to start a pizza business.

Years later, Schnatter created a website to help him search for the long-lost Camaro and offered $250,000 reward to whoever found it. The car was eventually located and Schnatter bought it back in 2009.

Also missing was a red 1966 Chevrolet Corvette, reported stolen Saturday afternoon in Birmingham. It carries a black soft top and custom license plate ITSMY66. It was taken from the Park Street parking structure between 12:30 and 2 p.m., according to a report in the Detroit Free Press.

A black 1966 Chevelle was also reported missing in Bloomfield Hills. The Chevelle was sitting on a trailer overnight in the parking lot of a hotel when it was stolen. Also stolen was the 2007 Chevy Silverado that had been pulling the trailer and the Chevelle. The pickup has a North Carolina Purple Heart license plate, and the Chevelle has a vintage 1966 North Carolina license plate.

The 21st annual Woodward Dream Cruise was held Aug. 15 along a 16-mile stretch through nine host communities. The event draws about 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year.
Anyone with information on the thefts is ask to Birmingham police at 248-644-3405. Bloomfield Hills police can be reached at 248-644-4200.

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