Stolen Classic Pickup Returned to Owner After Three Years in Mexico

DES PLAINES, Ill., Oct. 10, 2018 — The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has been helping law enforcement recover stolen vehicles for 106 years. And over that time, NICB has documented some fairly unique recoveries.

Watch the video report.

Such was the case when Bob Brown, a car collector from Arroyo Grande, Calif., left his classic 1957 Chevy pickup unlocked at a grocery store parking lot and came back to find it gone. That was just before Christmas three years ago, and he figured he’d never see that set of wheels again.

Grover Beach Police and an auto theft task force in San Diego actually made an arrest in the theft, after the suspect bragged on social media about his new Christmas present and posted a picture of himself next to the shiny red pickup. But the truck had already been sold and taken to Mexico where it disappeared.

NICB Special Agent Roger Hogan noted the police report at the time of the theft, and even though the pickup didn’t have theft insurance coverage at the time, he made a record of the vehicle identification number (VIN) and description in NICB’s database.

Sure enough, that VIN popped up this summer when an NICB foreign operations vendor saw the truck in a Mexican salvage yard. Hogan contacted Bob Brown to give him the news that his truck had been found.

NICB worked to have the truck returned to the states and back to its owner who was happy to pay the costs of bringing it back through customs.
 
Now, he’s spending about $20,000 to have the truck restored to its classic condition, and he’s also changing the color from red to white to make it easier to keep shiny.

Brown is grateful to the police and NICB for their efforts in getting his beloved truck back. He says he will ensure it is locked next time and his insurance coverage is in place. He also reported a $20,000 write-off on his taxes when the truck was stolen and says he will make sure he takes care of that on this year’s return.

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About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $461 billion in insurance premiums in 2017, or more than 81 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 95 percent ($218 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.