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Texas Man Finds His Stolen Car on eBay -- 42 Years After Its Theft


"I hate to sound indelicate, but you're selling a stolen car."

In this image provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department the stolen car sits on small transport trailer as it is delivered to Robert Russell 's home in Texas. Russell whose prized 1967 Austin Healy sports car was stolen 42 years ago, recovered the vehicle after spotting it on eBay, authorities said Sunday July 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department)

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

Robert Russell told the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department that he never gave up searching for the 1967 Austin Healy after it was stolen from his Philadelphia home in 1970.

Russell, a 66-year-old retired sales manager, scoured the Internet for years looking for his car, while also keeping an eye out for similar looking Healeys on the streets, NBC10 Philadelphia reports.

Russell recently spotted what he thought was his car on eBay and, after checking the vehicle identification number on the website and with the one on the car's title certificate, found they were a match, the department said in a news release.

"Ever since eBay showed up, I'd check it periodically," Russell said. "I checked it on Friday, May 11, and there it was."

He immediately contacted the dealership, Beverly Hills Car Club, and informed them of the situation -- bluntly too.

"I hate to sound indelicate," Russell told the dealer, "but you're selling a stolen car."

Russell, who now lives in Texas, then contacted the department in May and Detective 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. His hometown wasn't immediately available.

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

He said "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.

While it is certainly a happy ending for Russell and his beloved car, the dealer who was duped into buying the stolen car is reportedly out $27,000 plus what it cost them to ship it to California.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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