Have I told you all lately how amazing you are? Because you, Greater Jalopnik Community, are really amazing. Especially PeterVWJetta, who, along with some other clever Jalopnik readers and commenters, helped find and recover a beloved, stolen Delorean. Here's the full story of what went down.
To recap, an incredibly low-mileage but sadly immobile and a bit neglected Delorean was stolen from the owner's yard in Morgan Hill, CA. A Delorean is a pretty distinctive car, and this Delorean was even more so: it was painted black (as opposed to the bare stainless finish of most Deloreans) and it only had about 636 miles on it.
That Delorean is a highly identifiable and distinctive car, and, as we discussed, you would have to be a colossal, drooling simpleton to steal one and try to sell it. And that's exactly what a colossal, drooling simpleton allegedly did.
See, Jalopnik commenter PeterVWJetta did a quick bit of internet sleuthing, and found a Craigslist ad from someone named Mikey, who just so happened to be selling a dusty black Delorean (also spelled "Dalorean" in the same ad) for a tellingly absurd $12,000. Peter contacted the seller and started exchanging emails, convincing the seller to send him a picture of the odometer. There was 636 miles on the clock. Peter was sure he had found the car.
While Peter was the first to get definitive proof of the dusty, dark Delorean's origin, others were helping, too. Another commenter emailed me chat transcripts he was having with the low-down dirty car thief, and another still did an impressive bit of Google Earth work and found the actual location the car was being held. He even drove by the place to case the joint and take some pictures. Just for the record, we don't recommend that — please leave actual police work to the pros.
Clearly, we had an impressive team of Jalops on the case, and it paid off. I contacted the original person who contacted us for help, Ehsan, who emailed me initially on behalf of his uncle who owns the car, and passed on the information. Here's what he said:
THANK YOU!! I can't believe you guys found it already! :D I was out of town yesterday and just saw that you put it up on Jalopnik!
Okay, so i'll get in touch with my uncle as it is his car and he's the one who lives in California while I live out here in Pennsylvania. I'm on Jalopnik as well under the screen-name "SuPeRcHaRgER". I'll get in touch with him as soon as I get a break at work in a bit!
THANK YOU SO MUCH again!
Of course, those "THANK YOUs" should go to Peter and the other Jalopnik readers who assisted, like commenters Matt and Ted, and all the other crime-fighting, car-finding Jalops instead of me, so, I genuinely thank you all.
Once the car's location was passed on to the police, a task force was formed, and a plan concocted. For a variety of reasons, the police decided to buy the car without arousing suspicion, and then confirm the VIN, which would provide the hard evidence needed to arrest "Mikey" and convict him on fencing stolen goods charges, at the least.
Everything seemed to work according to plan, because Ehsan soon emailed to say
Just got word from my uncle that the DeLorean has been recovered!! It's in the impound lot of the police and he'll pick it up first thing in the morning when they open… And again, THANK YOU JALOPNIK and all my fellow JALOPS for finding the old girl! She needs a restoration and its about time my family got to it lol!
So, once again, we're delighted that this hopefully soon-to-be-restored iconic car is back with its owner, and I'm once again stunned by how effective the Jalopnik community can be when a car needs recovering. It's a proud day for us all.
Here's more details on what happened from Ehsan:
It turns out that the authorities decided to do a stake-out for a couple of days at the locations that our fellow Jalops and incidentally my cousin had unearthed separately of each other but saw no activity and decided that on Tuesday it was time to pay a visit to the garage. When they got there they saw that the garage was mostly empty and the perpetrator had high-tailed it out of there and the DeLorean was the only thing left. The car's in pretty much the shape it was in prior to the heist, except for the sheep-skin seat covers and the service manual, which were stolen. Losing the sheep skin covers revealed that the original leather seats are in immaculate condition so the covers did their job!
The perp did damage the mechanism for the hood release mechanism that is under the rear louvres so getting access to the engine bay is gonna be tricky but we're pretty sure the motor is still in there when you look under the car to see that everything seems to be fine and where it should be. He also seemed to have attempted to take apart/tear-up the glove-box and center console in an attempt to find something (more than probably he was looking for the title) but didn't take or steal anything else like the cassette deck or something. As a final act of defiance, he ended up slashing the tires but that seems to be it! My cousin and uncle are gonna contact the DMC branch in Los Angeles and try to get a quote from them on how much the restoration is gonna cost. Its about time that the poor girl gets put back to her former and righteous glory! The guy at the DMC, Los Angeles branch still doesn't believe that its only got 636 miles LOL!
And finally, a bit of history on this particular vehicle. My uncle bought it back in '82 from a dealership in Sunnyvale and basically paid 47% over sticker for the added DuPont paintwork, gold DMC logo'd pinstripe down the side of the car, the chrome plated knock-off style wire wheels. Remember, this was the 80's :) He drove it on a few occasions to work because work was barely 2 miles away from his then residence and that is why it has such few miles on it. He bought it with a 5 year/50,000 mile warranty but fast forward to '87 and the infamous fuel injection system relay had started to act up on him. So like all DeLorean owners at the time, he bypassed it himself and ran it like that for a bit. But shortly after he did that, the fix stopped working and it broke down one day in '87 and he just pushed it back home the whole way and stowed it away in his garage. By this time, he got married, had kids and moved houses and changed jobs as the days rolled into years.
At this point, the police are not releasing any more information about the perp but it can be speculated that prying eye's, most probably those of contractors that my uncle had hired some time ago to work on the house, MAY have been the reason why it got stolen and it MAY have been sold to the perp Mickey.
... the authorities found all the information in the comments section of the article on Jalopnik to be INVALUABLE to their investigation! That's why some of the pictures have a little sign on the DeLorean with "Jalopnik" written on it to show my family's deep gratitude for all the detective work and the critical information that made this whole case go so much faster!! The power of Jalops when they unite is infallible and undeniable! Thank you EVERYONE!!