Author Topic: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago  (Read 11432 times)

Soaring

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If I were the original owner who had it stolen from him, I would sign the title over to the woman and thank her for taking care of it for 38 years.  He may legally own it, but she morally owns it.  What would you do, and why?
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LOS ANGELES - A Los Angeles man is getting his stolen Mustang back — 38 years after it was stolen. The vehicle has an extra 300,000 miles and a different paint job, but Eugene Brakke's 1965 Mustang is evidently running just fine.

Brakke reported the car stolen to Burbank police in May 1970. One month later, a Long Beach teenager named Judy Smongesky received the car as a high school graduation gift from her father, who had bought it at a Bellflower used car dealer.

Smongesky, who now lives in San Diego, said Thursday she had been driving and maintaining the car for nearly four decades, and only learned that it had been stolen when she recently prepared to sell it. San Diego police verified the car was hot.

"It's his car, even though he had it for four years and I had it for 38," Smongesky said. "He seems like a real nice gentleman, though."
Brakke found out Smongesky had twice rebuilt the engine and painted the Mustang from its old gold color to silver-blue.

"He wasn't too happy with that," Smongesky said.

The pair planned to meet up to transfer the car soon.
"It was hard but it was the right thing to do," Smongesky said. "I haven't really cried yet, but when he drives it away, I think I'll fall apart."
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66GTKFB

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2008, 10:22:39 AM »
The circumstances behind the way the car was determined to have been stolen was she planned to sell it and that flagged the authorties. That sounds like a bunch of crap to me as the DMV had the VIN in their data base. That shows a big gap in the California vehicle registration system, which doesn't surprise me. There's a saying - 'the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing' - or in the Cal DMV case,  - 'the right hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing'. In any case, the car is his, she has no rights to it at all. In the past few years, there have been some others, a Vette and a T-bird, that have made the news and the sellers/current owners took the hits.
Jim

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2008, 05:55:26 PM »
Then she should at least be paid the amount of money her father paid for it and for all the upkeep such as the two motor overhauls and God knows what else.   Neither she nor her father stole it.  They bought it under honorable circumstances, and took pride in keeping it maintained for all those 38 years.  Yes, it's legally his car, but morally, it's hers.  I would take him to court. 

66GTKFB

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2008, 12:19:34 PM »
Court? What a joke. She would loose on the basis that 'ignorance of the law is no excuse'. It's a cold cruel world out there.
Jim

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2008, 04:44:36 PM »
id be hard pressed to take it from her. i seriously doubt he is attached to it as much as her, esp since it was a gift. but it is legally his i think i would offer half of market vale if i wanted it back and wasnt planning on selling it. but since she was actually trying to unload it must not be to attached to it? i think i might just accept it and be on my way. just depends on the situation

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2008, 06:24:40 PM »
Court? What a joke. She would loose on the basis that 'ignorance of the law is no excuse'. It's a cold cruel world out there.
Jim
The way the small claims courts are awarding today, You never know.  BTW Jim, loose means it is not tight, and lose means to not win.   ;D
I doubt the original owner can even produce the original paperwok to prove the car is his. 

66GTKFB

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2008, 11:10:23 AM »
Oh Great Teacher-Person (politically correct),
  I stand corrected.
Jim

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2008, 02:11:32 PM »
 ;D :) :) ;D

rmodel65

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2008, 12:56:32 AM »
haha glen was a teacher so it's in his blood :P

Soaring

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2008, 10:46:24 PM »
I still think there should be some litigation as to whom the real owner is.  She obviously had to have had some legit paperwork to keep registering it year after year while she owned it.  I think there is a gap in our understanding about what paperwork was involved when the exchange back to him took place.  Or, Maybe Jim is right and that the California DMV is FUBAR.   ;D

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2008, 12:33:26 AM »
I would agree with the prevailing opinion that something stinks in California.  But before all you folks make up your mind who should have this vehicle I think an in-depth investigation into this vehicle is in order.  Having personally been involved in law enforcement for 30 years I suspect that there is definitely more to this story.  Why not hold off the opinions until the story is told?  Who knows, your current opinion could change after knowing all the facts, instead of all the inferences.

Soaring

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2008, 08:14:29 AM »
I have always heard that possession is 9/10 of the law.  And, I don't think we are going to hear anymore about this story. 

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2008, 09:33:07 AM »
He may legally own it, but she morally owns it. 

No such thing as "morally owning" anything.

Then she should at least be paid the amount of money her father paid for it and for all the upkeep such as the two motor overhauls and God knows what else.
 

By whom, the individual that he bought it from? 

Neither she nor her father stole it. 

You're right; it's called "receiving stolen goods."

The way the small claims courts are awarding today, You never know.  BTW Jim, loose means it is not tight, and lose means to not win.   ;D
I doubt the original owner can even produce the original paperwok to prove the car is his. 

Most small claims courts are limited to 5k or less.  I doubt one would even hear the case.  As far as the original paperwork goes, it's obviously a matter in the public domain.  In other words he is the owner of record and she is the recipient of stolen property, regardless of how that came to be. 

I still think there should be some litigation as to whom the real owner is.  She obviously had to have had some legit paperwork to keep registering it year after year while she owned it.  I think there is a gap in our understanding about what paperwork was involved when the exchange back to him took place.  Or, Maybe Jim is right and that the California DMV is FUBAR.   ;D

I have no doubt as to the “fubarness” of the DMV in the People’s Republic of California, however that doesn’t change the fact that the original owner was the original injured party and is entitled to his property.  The fact that someone else received stolen goods and kept it for all those years does not change that original owner’s aggrieved status.  As far as her “legit paperwork” is concerned; just because fraudulent papers floated around for many years doesn’t give them legal or “legit” status.  It just means that they’re old fraudulent papers.

I have always heard that possession is 9/10 of the law. 

I've heard that to, but it doesn't fly in court.  This is no more than returning stolen property; any claims to moral ownership or any other emotional appeals would slam head-on into the harsh reality of legal ownership and be dashed on the rocks of reason.

Steve

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2008, 07:01:43 PM »
Wow, this is an old thread.  Yeah, like I said, the car belongs to the man from whom it was stolen.  But, and I repeat....But, If I was him, I would just tell the woman to keep it if she would pay a fair market price for it.  No doubt they would both come out with a win-win situation that way. 

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2008, 01:04:43 AM »
I would to have an opinion for this (even though this is an old thread)
i think what the child did is very noble though its been years since the car has stolen, but since the car is very old and the child gave the car back to the owner i think the best thing the car owner needs to do is to pay the child some reward...

om27

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2008, 08:53:14 AM »
No matter what, I ll always would want to have it back...

Soaring

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2008, 07:49:35 PM »
I would to have an opinion for this (even though this is an old thread)
i think what the child did is very noble though its been years since the car has stolen, but since the car is very old and the child gave the car back to the owner i think the best thing the car owner needs to do is to pay the child some reward...
The California DMV screwed up at the time the car was registered after it was stolen.  That is where the problem lies, and not the girl  or her father whose gift has somehow been taken away from her because the Kali DMV didn't have its' act together and catch the thief at the time it was erroneously registered. Yes, the car legally belongs to the idiot who first owned it, but if he had any heart at all, he would give the car to the girl.  No heart?  Fine, take your car and burn in hell.   

66GTKFB

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2008, 10:40:41 PM »
I wonder what your tune would be if it was 'ol yeller'?
Jim
How's the jaw?

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2008, 08:00:58 AM »
Pretty Amazing story.... Not sure what to think about how everything went down, but it's interesting for sure.

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Re: LA man gets his Mustang back after it was stolen 38 years ago
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2008, 06:13:03 PM »
Jaw's fine.  I bought old Yeller when I was in my fifities and she was quite used up by the time I got her.  I spent literally years getting her back to excellent condition.  The man who had his car stolen had absolutely no investment other than money in his car that was stolen and found 38 years later.  He had been monitarily reimbursed for the loss.   He had no love nor personal sweat invested in it.  The people who bought the car legally from a used car dealer spent 38 years investing money as well as blood sweat and tears into that old Mustang.  They were issued a clear title to the car.  A clear title, plus posession for 38 years should have made the old mustang theirs.  If someone came up to my door and demanded I turn over any of my vehicles because of some dumb blip in the system 38 years ago, they would have to bring an Army.  Ada can shoot the 30-30's while I back her up with  the 357 and the shotgun.   ;D ;D

 

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