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Wave of classic car thefts in Valley

December 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Classic and rare cars have been targeted for a rash of thefts in the San Fernando Valley.Laraine Lisa came home to an empty garage last week. Her prized 1957 Chevy Bel-Air valued at more than $150,000 had been stolen.

The gorgeous convertible had been featured in several magazines and TV shows, won dozens of awards at car shows around the country and graces the cover of the menu at Bob's Big Boy.

On Wednesday morning, a neighbor's surveillance camera caught the thieves in action just minutes after Lisa left her home in Shadow Hills. A late model Chevy pickup truck drove into her driveway. Minutes later, the Bel-Air was pushed down the street by the pickup truck. The thieves likely loaded it onto a trailer.

"This is a small rural community, a horse community, and it's just shocking that it would happen here," said Lisa.

"They're spotting these cars at car shows, they'll follow them home to where you live, they'll wait until the opportune time and then they'll act," said Ted Saraf, a former police detective with the Pasadena Police Department who spent 17 years tracking down stolen cars.

Now Saraf days he works for a company called Lo-Jack, which helps owners recover their stolen cars by fitting the automobiles with an electronic beacon.

In July a very similar 1957 Chevy was stolen from a repair shop in Reseda. Elsewhere, two 1959 Impalas were stolen only weeks apart - one in Glendale and the other in Chatsworth.


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