For an auto enthusiast, a stolen car represents a roller coaster of emotions, ranging from severe dejection upon realizing what's happened to elation once your car has been recovered. Of course, that roller coaster doesn't always end with such happy feelings, as all too often, a vehicle isn't discovered, or has been found totally stripped of its valuable parts. For Rick White, of Portland, OR, even that low would be an improvement over what he's been experiencing.
"Why wouldn't the cops get our car? It's very mind boggling." – Jackie White.
White purchased a new Plymouth Barracuda back in 1970. He raced it, and maintained it, until it was stolen in 2001. Despite this, White, and his wife Jackie, never gave up hope that they'd find the Plymouth again.
After years of searching, last month saw a breakthrough. A towing company in northeast Portland, Budget Towing, mailed a letter to the Whites, as they were still listed as the vehicle's owner. The garage had the car in storage, although the man named by Budget, Lee Sitton, had racked up thousands in unpaid storage fees, and the Cuda was slated to be auctioned off. When the Whites contacted the garage, though, Sitton had squared things up, and had retaken possession of the car. That's when the police were called in.
But to the dismay of Rick and Jackie, they were told that despite being listed as the vehicle's owner by the state, the police couldn't march in and seize the Plymouth. That's because the statute of limitations only lasted for three years, Sergeant Pete Simpson of the Portland Police told KATU-2.
"Why wouldn't the cops get our car? It's very mindboggling," said Jackie White, a sentiment echoed by her husband.
"How come police don't have a warrant to go in and get my property?" Rick White asked KATU.
Sitton, for his part, remains adamant that the car is his, telling KATU that he bought the car years ago, he has a bill of sale to prove it and that he didn't believe it was stolen. Things are made more suspicious, though, due to Sitton's dodging of questions relating to who or where he bought it from. He also wouldn't offer an explanation as to why he hasn't titled the Cuda yet. State law requires a vehicle be titled within 30 days of purchase, according to KATU.
"It's a matter of, 'I've got your property, na-na-na-na-na,'" Rick White said of Sitton's possession of the cherished Plymouth.
For now, police are attempting to figure out the legal parameters here, although considering that the Whites are still listed as the owners according to the state, we aren't totally sure what needs to be figured out. Scroll down, and have a look at KATU-2's full report on this frustrating story.