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Man reunited with Camaro stolen 27 years ago

December 8, 2010 |  2:25 pm

Camaro

A Nevada man was reunited Tuesday in West L.A. with a 1973 Chevrolet Camaro stolen from him 27 years ago.

Robert Andrews reported his car stolen July 31, 1983, in his former hometown of Santa Ana, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Travis Ruiz.

There were few leads in the case until last month when a man tried to register a Camaro he had recently bought from a woman in Los Angeles, who said it had been sitting in her backyard for 15 years.

The Department of Motor Vehicles told the man the Camaro would have to undergo an inspection by the CHP, which occurs when paperwork does not match up or when cars are older or customized, Ruiz said.

During the inspection, officers discovered the vehicle identification number on the windshield was not the original.

“So we found the original VIN stamped in a few other places on the vehicle,” Ruiz said.

The CHP ran the numbers and found it matched Andrews’ stolen car. With the help of the Nevada Highway Patrol, it took a month to track down the car's rightful owner.

“I think [Andrews] was probably in shock,” Ruiz said. “It’s been 27 years and he probably never thought he would get it back.”

Andrews reclaimed the car Tuesday at the West Los Angeles CHP office.

The CHP will continue to investigate the theft and plan to interview the woman who sold the car, Ruiz said. The man who tried to register the car was not a suspect, he said.

Andrews may not have to lug the car back to Nevada. Several CHP officers have already expressed interest in buying it, Ruiz said.

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-- Shan Li

Photo: Robert Andrews checks out the trunk of his recovered 1973 Chevrolet Camaro on Wednesday. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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