A classic Ferrari stolen from a warehouse in Spain 15 years ago surfaced recently in Connecticut.
The man who had it apparently did not know the car was stolen, state police said. He bought the car in 2000 for $550,000 and added it to his collection of exotic cars, state police said.
According to local news sources, the man in possession of the stolen car could not be reached for comment.
In spite of the seemingly hefty price tag of $550,000 paid by the enthusiast, on the open market, the car would have fetched more than four-times that amount, according to current Ferrari pricing.
The car was seized late last week after troopers with the motor vehicle and auto theft task forces obtained a search warrant for property of the man in possession of the car.
The 1957/58 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series 1 Pinin Farina was one of only 40 built.
According to authorities, the car was among four Ferraris stolen from a warehouse in Marbella, Spain, in 1993. It was sold in Spain, Portugal and Italy before arriving in the U.S. in 1994.
The car is owned by Dr. Andreas Gerber of Switzerland, who purchased the vehicle in 1989. State police said their investigation showed that the car was smuggled into the United States through New Jersey in 1994 and was registered with a phony vehicle identification number. It then changed hands several times before ending up in Connecticut.
The Connecticut man in possession of the "hot" Ferrari, apparently unaware that the car was reported stolen, drove the Ferrari and entered it in car shows, such as the 2005 Greenwich Concours D'Elegance, where it won the award for "most outstanding Ferrari," presented by Ferrari North America.
State police said their investigation is ongoing and has been aided by the owner and Interpol, an international police organization that facilitates cross-border cooperation. In a press release about the seizure of the car, state police said exotic car enthusiasts placed its value at $4 million to $5 million.
The car's owner in Switzerland did not accept an insurance settlement after the car was stolen because he believed that the car was so rare that it would eventually turn up intact somewhere in the world, state police said.
The current driver of the car, who appears not to have known that the car was stolen, will be out the half of a million dollars that he paid for the stolen vehicle, according to authorities.