Deputies seize stolen 1970 Cuda from gated estate

Deputies seize stolen 1970 Cuda from gated estate »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Multnomah County sheriff's deputies have seized the classic Cuda that turned up 13 years after it was reported stolen.

"We figured that it was just a lost car. Never have it again. To find out that it came back and it's still in the state of Oregon was just awesome and now we have it back," said Jackie White, the wife of the car's owner.

KATU first reported on the saga of the missing Cuda on July 17.

Rick White purchased the car brand new in 1970 and raced the car at Portland International Raceway. He said someone stole the car from his garage in 2001.

"It was a very upsetting time. It was hard to even think about it being gone," said Jackie White.

The Whites still hold the car's title. They received a letter last month saying there was a lien on the car for thousands of dollars in unpaid storage and service fees at Budget Towing. They said they contacted Budget Towing, but found out that the man who was storing it there had already paid the money owed and took possession of the car.

The Whites called police, but said police told them the statute of limitations had run out, and officers could not write a search warrant and could not go and seize the car.

That meant the car stayed put at the gated estate of Lee Sitton, the man who paid off the storage fees at Budget Towing.

Sitton said he bought the car legally from a friend in 2001, though he did not get a title. He said he did not steal the car.

"It's a matter of, 'I've got your property, na-na-na-na-na,'" said Rick White.

But the Whites were finally able to find a resolution. They filed a new stolen car report with Police.

Sgt. Pete Simpson with the Portland Police Bureau said the new report allowed police to reopen the case and get a search warrant for the car.

Multnomah County sheriff's deputies served the warrant Wednesday and seized the car.

The Whites were able to see the car Thursday for the first time in 13 years.

"I'm elated," said Jackie White. "Finally, the car's not in his garage, it'll be in ours. Where it belongs."

Jackie White praised the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office for working together and recovering the car.

"Well, I think that shows we do have a good police department. Slow at first, but they stuck with it," she said. "Keeping on it, not letting up on it until someone listened to them. And they did it together, got our car back."

The saga is not quite over.

"The Plymouth is not in drivable condition, with many essential parts and components missing. Efforts continue to recover the remainder of the vehicle," said the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in a press release.