Having your car stolen is probably one of the worst feelings in the world but, in a twist of fate, Tommy Cook was reunited with his 1969 Chevrolet Camaro after 17 years.
According to The Free Lance-Star, Cook’s car was stolen from his auto repair business in 2003. Unfortunately, it appears the thieves had an eye on his Camaro as the engine was removed and was likely hauled away on a trailer.
Regardless of how it was stolen, Cook never gave up hope that he’d be reunited with his muscle car. However, the chances of getting it back dimmed as the years passed.
Cook’s luck changed one day as an acquaintance was in the market for a 1968 Camaro and asked him to check one out at a nearby shop. When he was there, a 1969 Camaro caught his eye.
He asked about the green muscle car and was told it was originally painted Hugger Orange, just like his stolen Camaro. After asking a couple more questions and getting answers that didn’t make sense, Cook realized this Camaro had a lot in common with his missing car including rare “factory-installed brackets to accommodate a fold-down rear seat.”
Convinced he was looking at his missing car, Cook found another VIN stamp and this one didn’t match the other VIN. It also looked like someone attempted to hide the number, so he wrote it down. After getting back home, he looked up his stolen vehicle report and found the VIN matched the one from his missing Camaro.
Cook contacted police and told them the story of how he found his stolen car. While police were ready to go get the vehicle, he delayed them until after his friend came to pick up the 1968 Camaro.
Cook told the paper the ‘owner’ of his stolen car was an innocent victim and said there weren’t any issues when police came to get it. Interestingly enough, he wasn’t the first person to own the stolen muscle car as it reportedly traded hands four times since it was originally taken.
While it’s sad the car was missing for so long, Cook noted previous owners put some work into the Camaro and even installed a 5.7-liter V8. As result, he said it’s in better shape now than when it was stolen.