Man sentenced for 'chopping' John Travolta’s classic Mercedes
A Los Angeles man who stole and “chopped” more than 30 classic cars, including actor John Travolta’s classic Mercedes-Benz, has been sentenced to 14 years in state prison after detectives linked him to the theft with “extensive surveillance.”
Sheriff’s officials say they began watching Michael Green, 58, of Los Angeles, after Travolta’s classic 1970 Mercedes Benz 280 SL convertible was reported stolen last September in Santa Monica. Detectives had been looking for multiple missing Mercedes-Benzes in L.A. County since 2010.
Authorities eventually linked Green to a Los Angeles repair facility acting as a “chop shop” where stolen vehicles are disassembled and the parts are sold. They also linked the theft of Travolta’s Mercedes to D.L. Rayford, 52, of Los Angeles.
After detectives detained Green in December, he confessed to stealing numerous vehicles and cutting up Travolta’s vehicle for parts. Green also admitted to stealing more than 30 classic cars over a two-year period and said he was already on felony probation for auto theft.
Rayford was arrested in December and later admitted to helping steal and hide Travolta’s car. He was sentenced March 1 to 1 1/2 years in state prison on grand theft automobile charges.
Green was sentenced Wednesday and faces 14 years in state prison for owning and operating a chop shop.
-- Matt Stevens
Photo: A vehicle similar to the car that was stolen from John Travolta. Credit: Santa Monica Police Department