Stolen VW Bus Returned — After 36 Years

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!)



That's pretty cool, I can relate I just found my stolen Buell and the guy that stole it last week. I was out of town for about a month in July and came back to find my motorcycle gone. I settled up with the insurance company in August bought a new bike and didn't hear anything... until last week.

I got a letter from a wrecking yard about 100 miles from where I live informing me that they were going to auction my bike if I didn't claim it, so I made a call to gather some more information. Turns out the guy that stole it attracted the attention of the local police whilst being squiddy. When the lights went on he must have assumed he was getting pulled on the GTA since he still had my plates on the bike (why I have no idea). Not knowing I hadn't reported it stolen he took off on a high speed chase. At some point he ran out of talent and crashed.

The cops arrested him and took him to the hospital, but could only get him on evading arrest since the bike wasn't reported stolen (but the ignition was ripped out so I dunno why they didn't look into it more). The guy told the cops he bought it from me and went about his pitiful existence probably thinking he's the luckiest bastard ever.

He was, until now. Since all of the information was attached to the impound letter and the police report, including his address, I found out he lives about three miles away from me. I suppressed the urge to pay him a visit and instead I happily let the Dallas PD and my insurance company know where they could find the lil' bastard. He is about to have a very sad Christmas.