The shiny red two-seater
was stolen from what was then C & M Chevrolet in San Diego. It was driven straight to a self-storage facility, where it was locked in and remained for 23 years.
When the car was first stolen, rent on the storage unit was just $50 dollars a month but last summer that amount had increased to $300 a month. The thief stopped paying and called his lawyer.
Apparently the thief was a recent Irish immigrant in 1989, and two other men were apparently involved in the theft. Auto theft detective, Andrew Spear,
told the LA TImes:
"The story from the lawyer was that after that, he would periodically get calls from the men checking up on him, asking 'Do you still have the car?' He was supposedly instructed to continue hanging on to it. If it's true, then he felt threatened and kept paying."
When Spear went to the storage unit after talking to the thief's lawyer, he found that the owners of the storage facility had already cut open the lock and were preparing to file a lien against the thief whom they assumed owned the car. On examining the storage unit records, Spear found that the thief had already paid $70,000 in storage fees.
The police found that the car had 67 miles on the odometer. The tires were flat but a tow truck operator was able to inflate them and they held air. The car was given
to the insurance company that had reimbursed the dealership way back in 1989. The insurance company sold it to Corky Rice a Sherman Oaks car dealer. Corky in turn,
sold the car on eBay for $39,741 just marginally above its 1989 price. The thief was not charged since he cooperated with police and the crime was so long ago. It also did not pay. As the enclosed video shows the 1989 Corvette is not the only one to show up after a long period.