When a Grover Beach man learned that his stolen 1957 classic Chevy pickup had been taken to Mexico, he never thought he’d see it again.
But after three years, Bob Brown is having the truck restored, and he’s excited to take the wheel once again.
“It’s a very, very collectible truck,” Brown said. “They only made it three years: 55, 56 and 57.”
Maybe value, or the fact that the truck was left unlocked, was the reason a man stole it in December 2015.
“I stopped by Vons to pick up a few things and I was only in there about 10 minutes and came out and no car, all gone,” Brown said.
Brown left the truck unlocked. All the crook had to do was push the truck’s ignition button, disable the kill switch and drive away.
For police, it was a difficult case from the start.
“We did not have a lot of info to go on, didn’t have suspect info or video available,” Grover Beach Police Commander Angelo Limon said.
Thankfully, the thief was kind enough to help out.
“He did post several photos of it on Facebook,” Limon said. “He basically insinuated he’d received the pickup as a gift.”
While the photos gave police a prime suspect, the bad news was that the truck was no longer in San Diego. Police learned it was 30 miles across the border in Tijuana.
“It’s very unlikely it’s gonna return to the U.S.,” Limon said.
But nearly three years later, Brown got a call from an investigator with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, who told him the truck was involved in a crime and impounded.
“He said your cars in Tijuana, do you want it back? And I said yea,” Brown said.
The truck’s temporary captor did not treat it with as much care as Brown, or any for that matter.
“There was a lot of chrome and stuff under the hood and it was all rusty,” Brown said.
The hood also appeared to have flung up at some point and smash the roof of the truck, the rear window was smashed out and the truck’s previously shiny red exterior was rusted.
His beloved ’57 Chevy pickup is now in the shop undergoing what Brown estimated is $20,000 in restorations, but even still, he said he is just excited to have it back.
“So I can get it home and put it all back together again which is part of the fun,” Brown said.
Limon said the man who stole the truck and posted photos has since been charged for the crime in San Luis Obispo County.