Classic Chevy pickup stolen in California found three years later in Mexico

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A classic Chevrolet pickup truck stolen from a California parking lot has been found in Mexico, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The truck’s owner, car collector Bob Brown, reported it stolen just before Christmas 2015. He said he had left the 1957 pickup unlocked when he went into a grocery store in Arroyo Grande, north of Los Angeles, for about 10 minutes. When he came out, the uninsured truck was gone.

“When I lost it, I just checked off [$20,000],” Brown said. “I put it on my income tax.”

The theft made the local news, as there were only two such trucks in the area at the time. The person who allegedly stole the Chevy was found in San Diego after he posted a photo of the vehicle to Facebook, claiming it was a Christmas present. He denied taking it and was arrested on unrelated drug charges.

The truck was added to the NICB’s database of stolen vehicles, but Brown thought he would never see it again. About six months ago, a vendor working in the Tijuana area spotted it in a Mexican salvage yard.

“I am just so grateful to that crew down there for finding my truck, and they were just so nice,” Brown said.

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Brown paid all the fees to have the vehicle returned to him, he added. NCIB Special Agent Roger Hogan said the truck was not in bad shape.

Brown said he plans to spend about $20,000 to restore the old Chevy and change its paint color from red to white. He also plans to let his tax man know it’s back and, he added, he will buy insurance this time around.

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Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.

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