UPDATE: Decision Reached in Stolen Car Case. CLICK HERE to find out who now owns the stolen Mustang!
San Diego, Calif—When a stolen car is discovered after 37 years who is the cars rightful owner?
This question has yet to be answered in a unique case involving a 1965 Ford Mustang that went missing back in May of 1970 and was only recently discovered.
San Diego Police Department Auto Theft detectives recently notified Eugene Brakke that his ’65 Mustang, which had been missing for 37 years, had been found. However, there was only one small hitch, the woman who possessed the car received it as a high school graduation gift from her father the same year it went missing. According to reports, the girl's father picked up the car from a less than reputable car dealer.
Judy Smongesky, who now lives in City Heights, had treasured her graduation gift since the day she first slid behind the steering wheel. In fact, she enjoyed the car so much that she put nearly 300,000 miles on the car and has had the engine rebuilt on two separate occasions.
However, despite years of enjoyment, she recently decided that it was time to part with her beloved gift.
In the process of doing the paperwork while preparing to sell the car, she uncovered a surprise. The vehicle identification number on the door did not match the number on the firewall.
Mystified, she reported her finding to the local police, who after some research discovered that it was the car that Brakke had reported as stolen to the Burbank Police Department back in 1970.
Authorities are uncertain how Smongesky’s father came to possess the stolen car.
The two now face a dilemma, who rightfully owns the car? Should it go back to its original owner, or stay with the woman who for the past 37 years has maintained it.
Smongesky has since spoken with Brakke, who wants to see the car. However, according to Smongesky, local police have told here that it is between the two of them to decide how to resolve the matter.