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Sounds fair, You are wrong, but what you posted sure seems fair.

The term knowingly is a vague laymen term and has no legal bearing.

The "Original Thief" can not be charged for a theft that happened 52 years ago. In the eyes of the law, it is no longer even seen as a crime.

Any item attained through legitimate bonafide means shall have precedent over the "rightful" owner. If the car was found, and the owner of it bought it off a used car lot or from some other legitimate source you will be hard pressed to see law enforcement step in to "recover" said vehicle. It will become a civil matter and I seriously can not see any court that would step in to this buzz saw of litigation. They would state that there is no course of action or legal remedy to sustain a court order.

I remember a corvette not long ago recovered at a port that was stolen in the 60s returned to its owner.

Ahh and here it is
 

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Cash reward for the finding and the return of my car - '57 Bel Air F.I.



If you haven't already, have you considered posting on the HAMB? lottsa exposure- good luck with your search, I'd love to sign in here one day and see you found what you were looking for!!!

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coupe - black with silver and black interior .VIN# VC57T182111 .Pennsylvania tag - 57-JJM . Stolen from Union Blvd.Bethlehem,PA Ready for the catch - here it comes - taken in 1969 .Yeah, I know its a real long shot but I'd like to solve this mystery before I pass on .If you have time on your hands here is a part-time job.This is not a joke - cash paid -no questions asked .Just to prove it here is my number - 610 533-6393 and its in my pocket - always.
 

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Not sure about other states, but the statute of limitations on stolen cars wont be handled that way here! Yes, the thief, or the person who is in possession can no longer be charged for the theft, or the possession. But the rightful owner who still has the title gets the car back.
This happened to a guy I know right here, and the car was his 1970 Cuda 440 Six Pack, 4 speed car he bought new in 1970. Stolen from his garage while he and his wife were gone for the weekend. It was gone for years, and it showed up when the person who had it was at Barrett Jackson trying to offer it to individuals in the audience. The guy was a fairly well to do business owner, and he had no title, so nobody went for the deal. He returned home and went to a local tow company to have them assist him in getting a lien title. Funny thing was that meant the state sent a letter to the last known title holder, and he still lived in the same house! When he got the letter he called the tow company, who then realized they were in big trouble trying to title a stolen car, and told him it must be a mistake, and he could come get his car. Then they hung up, called the guy trying to title it, and he came rushing down and took the car home!
The cops got involved, and eventually told the guy he had to give the car back. But a few days later he gave the original owner an empty shell, as he'd hired guys to strip it down to nothing. The crap hi the fan big time, and cops told him to give the owner all the parts, but he insisted he had none. People who'd seen the car at his house came forward and told the cops it was a complete car just weeks before, and he finally gave the owner all the parts too. No charges ever brought against this piece of crap guy.
A bunch of local hotrodders got together, and put his car back together, and even freshened up the 440, all for free. Far as I last heard he will never sell it, and it is 100% original. His son will take over when dad passes it along to him.
This was a huge local news story for months as it all unraveled and finally got righted.
I remember this!
 

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Call the PA DMV enforcement division. They're responsible for all vehicle and title fraud, etc. There's a national database that can be searched for all stolen vehicles. And, they should be able to trace if the car is still in existence and registered anywhere in the US. Of course, be prepared to provide proof that it was yours and was stolen (do you still have the title)?
I believe that '57 is history & parts from it are floating around the country in Other 57's. Sorry, but I've heard too many stories like this. The thief most likely made a Fortune on '57 Chevy parts. Sad to say, but this is what I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Just because the statute of limitations has passed and the thief no longer has to fear criminal prosecution, that doesn't mean that the person it was stolen from wouldn't still have a legal claim to the vehicle.

As much of a long shot as it is, I don't blame the person for trying to find a fuelie '57. I'm not sure about plastering the VIN all over the Internet as you risk the person seeing it and finding some 'alternative paperwork' for what is likely a six figure car. If I was really determined, I'd probably keep quiet and try to get that VIN run in as many countries as possible and see what happens. Any money spent is likely an investment without return, but I wouldn't blame someone for trying.
Sorry but most if not all will not accept the VIN for searches as they are set up for 17 letters and numbers.Also most states including mines no longer have records going back very far.Thanks for the thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Anecdotal side bar. A vehicle with a bogus VIN is traded in to a dealership, dealership in turn sells it at auction. Both the dealership as well as the auction have verified the VIN and proceeded, as the vehicle checked out. A third dealership specializing in used older cars buys car at said auction. The car is brought back to the dealership, cleaned up and put out on the lot. (This all took less then 3 weeks time) A buyer enters the picture, falls in love and buys the car on the spot. They have a beautiful relationship that lasts 25 years. In that time the car is transformed. New everything including a new chassis. The old chassis is sold and the buyer of that chassis cleans it up and uses it on a long term restoration. During that restoration the chassis is cleaned up and a serial number that is different then the one on his bill of sale appears.

Police are called, chassis is impounded, they even wanted to impound the body that was sitting next to it but cooler heads prevailed and the chassis and body did not share the same VIN and all documents checked out. During the investigation the police go to the person that sold the chassis. They want to see the car it came out from under. He cooperates, they verify the vin as not matching the chassis but not actually matching anything other then the registration and title the owner posses and he even shows 24 previous expired copies of it. (This guy keeps everything) An investigator for the highway patrol takes down all the information and leaves.
After many months a letter arives in the mail from the CHP stating that the VIN is in fact not valid, that the DMV had made an error and the car should never have been able to be registered. The original dealership, the auction house and even the used car lots are all gone. The investigation ends there, except for that pesky VIN number on the chassis. The CHP stated that a certified letter would be sent except they have no address or known information at all about the poor person the car was stolen from.

That chassis, the one that was impounded... It came back to the person that had bought it, they even waved impound fees and the tow truck company produced a invoice for $125

A new Vin has been assigned to both the car and it's old chassis.

Perhaps the story would have been completely different if the victim had been available.
That ending of the story would be great for me as I'm still kickin.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
I don't see anything over 50 years like you ask, but there have been a number of cars returned after long periods of time and multiple owners.

40 years - Stolen ’64 Chevrolet Corvette Returned to Owner after 40 Years
27,18, 37 years - Cold-Case Classics: Cars Stolen Long Ago Find Their Way Back (Published 2007)
42 years - Texas Man Finds Stolen Car 42 Years Later
33 years - VIDEO: Stolen car returned after 33 years
36 years - https://newjersey.news12.com/nj-woman-reunited-with-car-stolen-36-years-ago-34876871

This is just a 2 minute Google, not serious research by any means.
So it can happen ......So much for the naysayers .Happy Thanksgiving
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Call the PA DMV enforcement division. They're responsible for all vehicle and title fraud, etc. There's a national database that can be searched for all stolen vehicles. And, they should be able to trace if the car is still in existence and registered anywhere in the US. Of course, be prepared to provide proof that it was yours and was stolen (do you still have the title)?
Not much proof it was stolen - did report it back in the day .But I still have the title - you never know .........
 

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Not much proof it was stolen - did report it back in the day .But I still have the title - you never know .........
I had my '55 Chev gasser stolen in 1971. Still have the title, and back then I posted rewards in local newspaper, and Nickel Ad too. Never heard a thing, and it was never found.
If I somehow was lucky enough to have it returned or found today, I'd do whatever I could to get it back.
 
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