Car Thief Suspect Caught Because Rattle-Canning A Rare Ford GT40 Replica Fooled Nobody

Photo: KCCI News/Screengrab

In what has to be one of the dumbest cases of car thefts I’ve ever heard of, police in Mashalltown, Iowa, caught a suspect driving a stolen Ford GT40 replica that had been painted black—likely to disguise what has to be the only example of such car in the small city of 30,000 residents. Who did this guy think he was fooling?

Steve Salasek, who works in Marshall County, Iowa, reported his bright yellow 1966 Ford GT40 replica stolen last Tuesday after noticing it missing from a storage locker, KCCI 8 News Des Moines reports. Upon hearing of the swiped supercar replica, Marshalltown police put out a public notice on the city’s Facebook page.

It didn’t take long for local citizens to respond; within about an hour, a Facebooker named Joey wrote “I just seen it yesterday going down 12th av” and someone named Brock commented:

I saw it heading west out of marshalltown on Sat or sun I believe , I thought it was an odd time of the day as I wasn’t aware of any car shows going on , I know the owner and couldn’t tell if it was him driving or not


Within a day of reaching out to locals on Facebook, Marshalltown PD recovered the Ford GT40 Replica, finding the suspect driving the car—now painted black—on a residential street.

Photo: City Of Marshalltown/Facebook

Chief Tupper told KCCI 8 News why his team was able to find the car so quickly, saying:

It was a very unique car and I feel pretty comfortable saying it was probably the only car like this in Marshall County, maybe in the central Iowa area...


I spoke to chief Tupper, and he told me the “poorly done” black paint job probably made the car stand out even more, as it “made the car look like a Batmobile.”

Though police don’t yet know if the suspect, Patrick Allen Chamberlin, was the one who painted the car, KCCI 8 says Marshalltown PD has charged him with “theft, possession of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia and several traffic offenses.”

Photo: City Of Marshalltown/Facebook

If this guy really thought rattle-canning a rare supercar replica would be enough to let him drive the stolen car under-the-radar on public streets in a small town in Iowa, then it’s hard not to wonder if he’s got a little bit of Florida Man in his blood. Because that’s just utter idiocy. Even for a car thief.

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David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio