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Stolen car spotted on eBay 42 years after theft

A man whose prized sports car was stolen 42 years ago, recovered the vehicle after spotting it on eBay, authorities say.
Robert Russell was reunited with his prized 1967 Austin-Healey after finding it on eBay 42 years after it was stolen. (Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press)

A man whose prized sports car was stolen 42 years ago has recovered the vehicle after spotting it on eBay, authorities said Sunday.

Robert Russell told the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department he never gave up searching for the 1967 Austin-Healey, which was stolen from his Philadelphia home in 1970.

Russell recently spotted what he thought was his car on eBay. He checked the vehicle identification number on the website against the one on the car's title certificate and found they matched, the department said in a news release.

Russell, who now lives in Texas, then contacted the department in May and Det. Carlos Ortega tracked down the car in East Los Angeles.

"Detective Ortega located the stolen Austin-Healey at the dealership listed in the eBay ad and confirmed that the car was the same vehicle reported stolen by Mr. Russell," the department said.

After working with Philadelphia police to resolve vehicle identification issues, the department told Russell he could pick up his car. He has since brought it back to Texas.

Russell told deputies that he bought the vehicle for $3,000 US. It's now valued at $23,000.

He told police "he continued his search for the vehicle, not for its monetary value, but because it had sentimental value to him and his wife," the department said.