SALT LAKE CITY — A Missouri man and his beloved classic car have been reunited 16 years after the vehicle was stolen.
Edward Neeley, of Jefferson City, Mo., picked up his red 1969 Chevy Camaro in Salt Lake City on Tuesday after tracking it down in Utah last month.
Neeley contacted Utah authorities after he saw the Camaro listed for sale online, the Deseret News of Salt Lake City reported.
The seller, Brent Dockery of Syracuse, bought the car four years ago on eBay and also is a victim, investigators said. He was unaware its vehicle identification number had been switched.
Davis County detectives obtained a search warrant and found the authentic VIN in the door panel, which confirmed Neeley’s suspicions.
After an investigation, the Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division returned the car to Neeley, who was determined to be the rightful owner.
"Oh, oh, I got my baby back," Neeley said when he laid eyes on the car again this week. "Never in a million years did I think it would come, even after I found it on the Internet."
Charlie Roberts, spokesman for the Utah motor vehicle division, said it’s unknown how many owners the car has had and how many miles it has racked up since it was stolen in 1995. Neeley was 18 years old at the time.
Dockery said he bought the car for nearly $16,000 and added another $10,000 in upgrades, and he wants to take out the upgrades he installed. Utah officials said any further issues between Neeley and Dockery would have to be resolved in civil court.
Neeley had the car shipped back home this week.
"She’s back," he said. "She already loves me, I can tell, so we’re back together, baby. I’ll get (her) back in shape."