Illustration for article titled Stolen VW Bus Returned — After 36 Years

A Washington woman took her 1964 Volkswagen Bus home from California last week 36 years after it was stolen in Spokane, WA, and one year after she had unsuccessfully tried to buy it back.

Michelle Squires thought her 1964 Volkswagen Bus was gone for good. After her VW was stolen from an upholstery shop in 1974 and paid for by insurance in the 1980s, it was assumed that the Bus would never make it home. Her assumption was correct until last year when Squires received an unexpected phone call from a Customs official at the port of Los Angeles. They had found her stolen Volkswagen Bus.


The old Volkswagen had been restored and was on its way to Germany when customs paperwork revealed Michelle Squires was the actual owner. At least Michelle and the Customs agents thought she was. Because Michelle's unnamed insurance company had paid for the claim on the Bus already, they successfully proved their ownership, despite the assistance of a Pro-Bono Lawyer on Michelle's behalf.

The Bus was auctioned in December of 2009 and brought between 30 and 40 thousand dollars. Although Michelle Squires bid on her bus, she could not beat the top bidder. It looked like once again, the Volkswagen was gone for good. It seems though, that Michelle and the Bus are destined to be together. An issue with the paperwork prevented the Bus from leaving Southern California, and gave Michelle the final chance she needed to buy the Bus back.

Last week Squires and her Boyfriend drove to California and trailered the Bus home to Washington State. Michelle and her family had a coming home party for the Bus 36 years after it left Spokane. She plans to take her 3 grandchildren on a road trip back to California in the Bus this May.

(Hat tip to aciddiver!)

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