• Apr 21, 2011
The story of the 1996 Ferrari F50 that was stolen from a Pennsylvania dealership, lost for five years, then crashed by two FBI agents, has gained some plot twists. The story begins in 2003 with Tom Baker, an airline pilot with a love for all things Ferrari and a serious talent for slick talking. It ends with an insurance company locked in litigation with the Department of Justice, trying to recover the $625,000 it paid Algar Ferrari/Maserati for the now-worthless Ferrari.

Baker, an airline pilot, realized he'd never be able to afford one of Maranello's finest, and hatched a plan to live his dream by illegal means. Turns out the Pennsylvania F50 wasn't Baker's only heist. Baker started relatively small, convincing North Carolina Ferrari dealer Steve Barney to let him take a 1989 Ferrari 328 GTS for a test drive, never to return.

According to Barney, Baker worked a perfect con, making fast friends with the dealer. Barney, who was battling cancer at the time he met Baker, said the con man told him he was a radiologist, even taking the time to look at his X-rays and asking what medication he was on. One day, Baker asked to test drive the 328 GTS. Barney obliged, and never saw Baker again.

Continue Reading Followup: More fascinating backstory behind the FBI-wrecked Ferrari F50...

[Source: Philly.com | Image: Ferrari]

Next, Baker bilked a Long Island dealer out of a 1985 Ferrari Testarossa. His pièce de résistance, though, was the F50. Baker, without his driver's license, waltzed into Algar Ferrari/Maserati in Philadelphia, claiming he was the CEO of a California tech firm. He said he had flown in from Atlanta to look at the F50, and was ready to make a down payment after a test drive.

When the dealership handed over the keys, Baker took off, accelerating Ferrari F50 No. 29 to 100 miles per hour before cresting a hill and disappearing. The next time anyone saw the car was in 2008, when FBI agents seized it from the Kentucky emergency room doctor Baker had sold it to. The doctor, who had reported the car stolen after checking the VIN against Ferrari's records, lost both the car and the $375,000 he had paid Baker for it.

That's where the story takes an odd turn. Baker, the brazen and apparently heartless con man, gave the F50 buyer his money back, in an apparent attempt to cover his tracks. Through the whole ordeal, Baker appeared to keep his cool.

With the car in hand, the feds arrested Baker, the insurance company was notified that the car had been found and the F50 was put into storage. Prior to Baker's sentencing, two FBI agents, allegedly moving the car from one storage facility to another, ran the car into a tree, totaling it. Now, Motors Insurance Group wants the feds to pony up the money they paid Algar for the car back in 2003. They'd also like to know exactly what the two agents were doing driving the car.

The Department of Justice, however, won't budge. They say that since the Ferrari was being detained by the FBI for an investigation, the money isn't their problem. As it stands, the matter remains to be untangled in court. As for the whereabouts of the mangled F50, both sides say they haven't got a clue where it's being stored.


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  • 36 Comments
      Robert Robinson
      • 3 Years Ago
      Were the two agents named Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett? Also, this new comments system sucks. Please get Disqus like other blogs. Having to sign in with a personal email address or social site sucks.
      formyremarks
      • 3 Years Ago
      At least Conman Baker paid back the money $375,000, but the two FBI agents, who had no business driving a stolen car (doesn't matter who stole, it is a stolen car and it is not theirs at any rate) or their employer seems to be more wrong than Baker. How can you call it a department of Justice if that is what they are working for? Were the two FBI agents also arrested and thrown into the same cell as Baker? If not, why? What gave them the authority to 'drive' instead of tow the stolen vehicle? Can they respond?
      Jonathan Arena
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is a piss-poor summarry, AB. You should have just cut and pasted the story that was posted on the Ferrari message board by the guy who "bought" the car from the theif.
        Randy
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jonathan Arena
        Agreed! Poor article summary. Didn't even include some of the interesting facts about the F50 test drive. He wasn't just handed the keys and took off into the wild blue yonder.
        John Hughan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jonathan Arena
        Yeah, I'm confused. This article claims the doctor lost the $375K but then that Baker gave him the money back. Also, why didn't the doctor run that VIN check BEFORE shelling out the cash???
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      teflon
      • 3 Years Ago
      Correction: One FBI agent, and one AUSA were in the car when it was crashed.
      Mark
      • 3 Years Ago
      Please turn this into a movie. This is a great story. Of course, playing doctor to a man who has cancer is absolutely demented.
      Confused!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      This might make a Good Move......."Triple F" How the FBI Fracked up a Ferrari F50
      jcar302
      • 3 Years Ago
      If i'm understanding properly, the fbi feels that anything in their possession during an investigation is theirs and they can do as they please with. Guess they won't be making much more effort to solve this one, because when it's all over they are going to owe the insurance company 700 grand. The insurance company should get used to the statement "on going investigation". Gotta love our tax dollars at work, two guys to move one ferrari huh. Both of these morons should be fired.
        LBFTPSEC
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jcar302
        You would want to take a spin in that F50 too if you had the chance. Don't give this crap about "our tax dollars at work". You're on the computer reading autoblog at work are you not?? ...why aren't you working?
      yesaninsider
      • 3 Years Ago
      "moving the car from one storage facility to another" Mmmhmmm...surrrrreeee you were Mr. FBI agent. And now the FBI refuses to pay for the loss of the car the 2 agents wrecked while dicking around. My question is - when the FBI breaks/or thinks that they're above the law, who watches them?? Hmmm
        mathiaswegner
        • 3 Years Ago
        @yesaninsider
        The Department of Justice's Inspector General watches the FBI.
        creamwobbly
        • 3 Years Ago
        @yesaninsider
        What has this to do with the FBI? If *you* do something illegal, does *your* employer have to answer for it?
      SubiRex
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is why I hate the policy and the bureaucratic bullshit known as the US gov't.
      keivmx
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does this qualify for "Don't Tell Us How to Do Our Jobs" exemption that all public employees flaunt on taxpayers?
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