Stolen classic cars found in ships at Port of LA

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are not necessarily known for fishing, but if you're with U.S. Customs and Border Protection it can be rife with some big catches.

One of those large catches is a 1967 Jaguar XKE convertible, which was already on a ship out at sea.

"This was destined to go to the Netherlands. We ordered the container to come back and when it got here we were able to identify that it did have a Jaguar," said Customs Section Chief Javier Larios.

Other cars that were nearly smuggled out of the country include a 1976 Mercedes and a 1969 bright blue Chevrolet Corvette, which was stolen out of Portland, Oregon 26 years ago.

All of the cars netted by a Customs joint effort with the California Highway Patrol and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

"They have 500 to 1,000 cars a day that go out, so when you think about that every day we're checking that many vehicles, looking for stolen vehicles," said Lou Koven, a special agent with the NICB.

But while newer cars are most often illegally shipped overseas, the vintage Jaguar that was found was stolen nearly 50 years ago.

The rightful owner of the car, 82-year-old Ivan Schneider, is still alive and itching to get back behind the wheel of his prized possession.

"I'm going to re-fix it up, make it as good as I can and drive it once a week," he said.

The Jaguar is beaten up and is not running, but Customs officials said if the car is fully restored it could be worth almost $100,000.

Schneider said he is willing to pay quite a bit of money to fix the classic car.

"It's between $50,000 and $75,000," he said. "It's a big chunk of change for an old man."

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