A Calgary police officer with an interest in collector cars is being credited for spotting a flood-damaged Chevrolet at an auction.

How to make sure a used vehicle isn’t flood damaged:

  • Ask for and take note of government issued identification from the seller.
  • Do a Carproof or Carfax check on the vehicle. If the vehicle is registered in another province or country ask more questions. If the vehicle is showing salvage or junk title ask more questions.
  • Look at the public VIN (lower left dashboard) and compare how the VIN looks to another similar vehicle.
  • Compare the public VIN to the federal certification label on the driver’s door frame. The VIN should be the same. The decal should not show any signs of peeling.
  • Take the vehicle to a car dealership and have them conduct checks. Check the VIN on www.cpic-cipc.ca to see if the vehicle is listed as stolen.

Source: Calgary Police

The officer was off-duty at a vehicle auction in May when he recognized the 1962 Chevrolet Impala.

It looked like the same car that was damaged during flooding a year ago in High River. That vehicle written off as non-repairable by its owner, which meant it could not legally be repaired or registered.

A 63-year-old Calgary man has been charged with one count each of uttering a forged document, tampering with a vehicle identification number and fraudulent concealment.

“Flood damaged vehicles are extremely unsafe and cannot be repaired,” police said in a statement. “Water damages a vehicle’s electrical components including its airbags, antilock brake system, stability control, heating and cooling systems and even its braking, acceleration and steering.”

Police alleged the man purchased the car from a salvage company and "cloned" it by changing the VIN number, and created a false bill of sale and out-of-province inspection certificate to register the car in Alberta.

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An estimated 10,000 vehicles were damaged during the floods in Alberta last year. (CBC)