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John Travolta's stolen classic Mercedes found chopped to pieces

January 25, 2012 |  1:48 pm

John Travolta's Mercedes found chopped to pieces
While authorities arrested two men they say stole John Travolta's classic Mercedes-Benz, the actor won't be seeing his beloved convertible any time soon, police officials said Wednesday.

Los Angeles police Det. George Molina, part of a countywide auto theft task force that broke the case open, said parts from the actor's 1970 Mercedes 280 SL convertible were found late last year on the proverbial chopping room floor.

"They chopped up the car," Molina said. "We have interior and some exterior body parts."

Molina said the men specialized in stealing classic cars and chopping them up, making money by selling the lucrative body parts. But sources familiar with the case said it wasn't exactly a sophisticated operation.

The break in the case took place last fall, when Santa Monica police acted on a tip that came in after they released a flier about Travolta's stolen car, according to sources familiar with the case. The tip identified suspect Michael Green.

That led to the Dec. 6 arrest of Green, who was on probation after pleading guilty to petty theft with priors in connection with stealing jewelry from a Sears store.

D.L. Rayford Jr. also was arrested in the case and has already pleaded no contest to grand theft auto. He has been sentenced to 16 months in state prison, Los Angeles County prosecutors said. 

Authorities said Green told police in December that he stole Travolta's car and a second vehicle, described as a 1962 Mercedes 220 SE. The other car was the same vehicle LAPD officers reported in 2010 as being pushed off the 101 Freeway at Cahuenga Boulevard by a gold Chevy Cavalier.

Police were not able to make an arrest at the time because one of the suspects jumped out of the Mercedes and jumped into the Cavalier, driven by another man. That Mercedes was found to have been hot-wired but was returned to its owner.

That was not the case with Travolta's car, stolen in September when he left it parked for about 10 minutes in a Santa Monica residential neighborhood.

During the investigation, Santa Monica police detectives said they obtained video footage of the vehicle and the suspects as it was being taken from the 1400 block of Berkeley Street.


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Millionaire who lived 'poor' leaves windfall to Salvation Army

John Travolta's stolen classic Mercedes recovered, two men arrested

-- Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton



Photo: A vehicle similar to the car that was stolen from John Travolta. Credit: Santa Monica Police Department