More than two decades ago, a rare 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo was reported stolen off the streets of Las Vegas, Nev. Now, after what must be a near-record length of time, the vehicle has been returned to its rightful owner.
Unfortunately, the rightful owner is not the formerly heartbroken Porschephile who lost his dream car 20-plus years ago. Instead, the rightful owner is an insurance company that holds title to the car after a big payout to its owner two decades ago. But in any case, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the Outbound Enforcement Team (OET) at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport should be credited with a hard-won save.
CBP officers discovered the vehicle after targeting and examining a container scheduled to be exported to the Netherlands. Inside the container was, among other things, the Porsche 930. The seized vehicle's manifest was undervalued at $12,552, but CBP import specialists estimated the value of this collector's edition -- without its engine -- to be approximately $27,552. But there was a much bigger issue. After querying the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) information in law-enforcement databases, the officers discovered that the vehicle was reported stolen on Nov. 24, 1988.
Representatives of the CBP then contacted Nevada state authorities, who confirmed that the stolen record for the 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo was still active. On October 25, the vehicle was seized and released to Nevada state authorities for return to the insurance that currently holds the title.
"CBP maintains an aggressive approach in detecting and intercepting shipments containing stolen cargo heading overseas," says Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles. "This seizure is a prime example of how CBP's outbound team combines intelligence, expertise and strategic targeting to recover stolen vehicles."
The CBP agents in Los Angeles are busy.
From October 2010 to August 2011, CBP/OET at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport seized 51 vehicles and 49 engines heading overseas. Of that total, 24 were stolen, 63 were undeclared, seven were undervalued and six had fraudulent documents. The combined estimated value is $1.8 million
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