Thief Returns Detroit Clock Stolen Decades Ago To Thank Ford

Michigan Central Depot
Michigan Central Depot
Photo: Carlos Osorio (AP)

Ford has generated tons of goodwill in recent days, after it went public about a long-running rumor that it had purchased the City of Detroit’s most famous ruin, Michigan Central Station—so much so, a thief who stole a clock from the beautiful building decades ago has returned the antique.


The thief anonymously reached out to representatives of the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan, on Friday, and said the clock wanted to “go home,” reports The Detroit Free Press. Shortly after, museum officials contacted Ford’s Land Development Company, setting off a scavenger hunt to retrieve it that ended at a nearby abandoned building.

Here’s more from the Freep:

The exchange went like this:

Thief: “I only have the clock. No other material. I left it leaning against a burned-out building on Lawton. It is between Warren and Buchanan. The building is between the train tracks and 4470 Lawton. Please send two men and a truck immediately. It has been missing for over 20 years and is ready to go home. Thank you so much.”

Ford Land: “Thank you! I will try to send a crew right now.”

Thief: “Please have them lay it face up in the truck. The paint is very delicate. You can tell the front from the back by looking at the exposed legs.”

Ford maintenance workers headed over to the area and found a package “carefully wrapped in moving blankets leaning against the wall in an overgrown lot with abandoned tires,” the Freep reports.

Hundreds of antiques and pieces of the 18-story station have been stolen over the years, according to the newspaper’s account.


Ford officials told the Freep that the thief send additional text messages to thank them for finding the piece.

Text messages later sent to Ford said, “Thank you so much. I loved that clock and I loved that station.”


There’s no clear idea of how the clock will be used just yet, Ford said, but it sure is heartening to know it’ll be maintained for years to come.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk



Clearly that is not a regular thief, but an antique specialist. The person kept the clock for 20 years and cared for it. That’s better than any museum.