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Latest classic car theft may be by ring

January 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Joseph Afifi's empty garage is a painful reminder of his prized possession that's been stolen by thieves.His baby, as he calls it, is a fully-restored 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible worth $100,000.

"It took a lot of time and effort for three years," Afifi said. "It was a complete rust bucket. It came out like brand new -- better than brand new."

It's hard to miss the bright red white-top convertible and police say that's exactly what drew the thieves in.

Afifi is the latest victim in a string of classic car thefts.

The brazen thieves used their Sport Utility Vehicle to ram his massive metal gates, then a suspect ran into the garage and simply drove the convertible away.

It happened about 6:30 a.m. Monday Cadman Drive in Los Feliz.

The suspects spray painted the security cameras, then made their bold move in broad daylight.

Los Angeles Police Department detectives believe they may be part of a sophisticated ring targeting classic cars.

Afifi is hoping the public can help return his rare ride.