When Rob Cook left his treasured 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS outside a northwest repair shop last October, he had a sinking feeling.
“I’m taking the LRT back to my house and I’m thinking ‘this is probably not a good idea,’” said Cook, who’d purchased the blue with black racing stripes, 7.4-Litre, 360-horsepower car from a Michigan auto dealer in 2013.
“I’d never parked it outside overnight before.”
Sure enough, the vehicle’s curb appeal proved too much for thieves, who made off with it that very night from a parking lot in the 100 block of Crowfoot Way N.W.
On Friday, it was a very different Cook, who couldn’t stop smiling as he hovered over the gleaming collector vehicle in a city police garage.
Two days before and acting on a series of tips, the CPS’s auto theft unit found the Chev in a rented garage in the 3000 block of Dover Rd. S.E.
“I’m just over the moon, beyond happy,” said Cook.
“It’s been a labour of love for the past five years – I could buy another classic car but I’d never get another one like it.”
Cook said he purchased the car for $55,000 Cdn. but probably invested another $25,000 in repairs and additions.
Also found in the garage was a 2019 Cargo Mate Utility Trailer that had been stolen Nov. 28 from a parking lot in the 3200 block of 10 St. S.E.
It’s believed the thieves planned to use the trailer to transport Cook’s Chevelle out of town, possibly to B.C.
“It would have been very difficult (to find it), that’s why we’re in constant contact with other jurisdictions,” said Staff Sgt. Graeme Smiley, adding the car was being hidden in the rental garage.
“This is a vehicle that stood out in a crowd, we feel it wasn’t driven around.”
He said the theft would have required the coordination of organized criminals and noted police also seized a dash stolen from Dodge Ram 2500 probably over the Christmas holidays.
“It just illustrates the magnitude of the problem…and in this case, classic vehicles being stolen,” said Smiley.
The Chevelle was recovered with damage to its trunk and glove box locks and to the steering column but it was otherwise in good shape.
Cook said it shouldn’t cost more than $5,000 for repairs.
No arrests have been made in the case and police are seeking the public’s help in cracking the case.
“This is early in the investigation, the hard work begins now,” said Const. Wayne Suffesick.
“If you steal a collector car, we’ll turn the world inside out to find it.”
Police are also asking the public to be aware of autos stored on rental property and if they’re suspicious, to check their vehicle identification number (VIN) to match it with the Canadian Police Information Centre’s database of stolen vehicles.
Cook said he was surprised to recover his Chevelle but at the same time had faith in the determination of the CPS auto theft team.
“When I saw (Suffesick’s) passion for classic cars, I thought I’d get it back,” he said.
Though the car was equipped with a locking device when it was stolen, Cook said he’ll upgrade the anti-theft security.
Anyone with information on the stolen Chevelle, trailer and Dodge truck dash are asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or Crimestoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.
on Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn
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