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Posted

Bob Russell could not be blamed for losing hope that he would reunite with his 1967 Austin-Healey. Stolen outside his Philadelphia apartment 42 years ago, the British roadster seemed a lost cause.

But thanks to the Internet and some creative police work, Russell has his pride and joy back.

When Russell, then a graduate student at Temple University, returned home the morning after a date with his future wife, his car was nowhere to be found. For decades since, he searched for his beloved ride in vain. On a trip to Washington, D.C., he stared at a parked Austin-Healey for half an hour in hopes of finding a distinctive marking to no avail.

On a recent eBay session, though, his luck changed: the cream-colored car was listed for auction by a Los Angeles car dealer, with a final bid of $19,700. Russell, who now lives near Dallas, knew the car was his because its vehicle identification number (VIN) matched the one on the title he kept since the theft.

"I'm not trying to sound indelicate, but you're selling my car," Russell told the dealer.

After Los Angeles police told Russell they could not recover it because it was not listed as an active stolen car, Russell called the Philadelphia Police Department, which, luckily for him, had a few tricks up its sleeve.

Deborah Sanborn, in the department's information-systems division, dug up a Teletype report about the theft in an archive. In order for Philadelphia police to communicate with police in Los Angeles, the case needed to be active in the FBI's information system, which it had not been for about 35 years, said Walt Bielski, a detective in the Philadelphia Police Department's major crimes division.

After Bielski filed the report, the LAPD impounded Russell's car and said the retired sales manager could pick it up whenever

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Posted

I love a story with a happy ending.

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Posted

That will be a nice "retirement" project car for him.

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Posted

That is pretty cool! So if I read correctly, Phily police found and old report that the car was stolen and then marked it as active again, so that LAPD would impound the car? Is that what I am understanding?

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Posted

[quote name='jnelsoninjax' timestamp='1342141764' post='594999449']
That is pretty cool! So if I read correctly, Phily police found and old report that the car was stolen and then marked it as active again, so that LAPD would impound the car? Is that what I am understanding?
[/quote] Basically.. Ya..

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