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Classic Porsche stolen 23 years ago seized at port

October 28, 2011 |  1:30 pm

Porsche Turbo 930
A collector’s Porsche 930 Turbo that was stolen 23 years ago was seized by alert federal port inspectors in Los Angeles as it was preparing to be shipped to the Netherlands.

Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) assigned to inspect outbound shipping cargo discovered Tuesday that the car had been stolen when they checked the vehicle identification number.

The 1976 cherry-red car missing its engine came up as stolen out of Las Vegas in 1988, said Marlene Figueroa, supervisor of the agency’s outbound enforcement team at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, which inspects cargo leaving ports in both cities.

The owner is listed as an insurance company, which paid off the original owner when the car was stolen, she said.

The car appears to have been well-traveled in the intervening years.

Figueroa said records show it has been registered since 1988 in New Jersey, Florida and Washington state. It’s unclear how it could be registered in those states without being flagged as stolen.

Figueroa said it’s also unclear whether the exporter, a private owner, knew the car was stolen. It was being shipped to someone in the Netherlands.

With its engine, the Porsche would be worth more than $70,000, according to an agency appraiser, Figueroa said.

Every day, between 500 and 1,000 cars are exported abroad from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Officials have increased scrutiny of cargo in the last few years with random physical checks, as well as X-rays of containers, Figueroa said.

In the 10 months ending in August, inspectors seized 51 vehicles and another 49 engines heading overseas.

Of those, 24 were stolen, 63 were undeclared, seven were undervalued and six had fraudulent documents.

“The more we look, the more we find,” Figueroa said.

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 -- Sam Quinones

twitter.com/samquinones7

Photo: A classic Porsche stolen 23 years ago was seized Tuesday at the L.A./Long Beach Seaport. Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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