Lynda Alsip never thought she would see her first car again. Why? Because the California woman’s 1967 Ford Mustang was stolen from in front of her apartment in 1986 when she was only 17 years old. She had owned the car less than a year.
The theft was upsetting, she recently told The Monterey Herald. She had worked hard to earn money for the car, and her dad, who has since passed away, helped her out with a little extra cash too.
But last week she got an early Christmas present when the California Highway Patrol returned the classic car that had been missing from her life for the last 28 years.
(via The Monterey Herald)
“I never thought I would see it again,” she said standing in a Salinas tow yard next to her car, which had a red bow tied to the antenna. “It’s like winning the lottery. It happens to very few people and for it to happen to me, it’s just an amazing feeling.”
Jaime Rios, an officer with the CHP, told The Salinas Californian the car had been in the possession of one man for the last 23 years. The man said he bought it from storage and was working on the car as a project, Rios said. When the man finally got around to trying to register the vehicle there was no record of it in the system.
That caught the eye of Officer Christopher Menchen who did some investigating and found that the car had originally been registered to Alsip’s mother, who is still living in Salinas. After learning that the car was Alsip’s first vehicle as a teenager, Menchen tracked her down and called her.
Alsip, who is now a mother herself and lives in Hollister, said she immediately got nervous when the CHP called her house.
“Given neither of my children were home and it was the Highway Patrol, I thought something had happened to my children,” she said.
“The officer asked me if I'd ever had a car stolen and I said, ‘Oh my God, you found my green '67 Mustang!’” she said. “I just blurted it out.”
That was September. Police are still investigating the theft and trying to determine if the man who had the car in his possession knew it had been stolen. That will be difficult as many of the old records have been purged.
But Alsip was allowed to pick up her car from the Salinas yard last week. She still has her old license plate for the car, which she never had the chance to install. It reads “Lynda 67” — her birth year and the model year of the Mustang.
She said getting the car back brought back memories of her dad.
“I'm sure I'm probably going to cry a bit in my first drive in it. But it's going to be exhilarating,” Alsip said. “And I pray to God I don't get a ticket in it my first drive in it because I'm probably going to want to go just a little fast.”