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Stolen Corvette Returned After Almost 21 Years

August 29, 1992

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ When Harold Johnson’s Corvette was stolen almost 21 years ago, it took him a few years to get over the loss.

″I used to say, ’By George, I own a Corvette. I just don’t know who’s driving it.″

Friday morning, Johnson finally found out who was driving it. Even better, the car was returned to him.

Johnson, 44, remembered the night in October 1971, when he was studying at a technical school in south St. Louis.

″I’m in class and come out for a break, and the car’s gone,″ he recalled. ″It’s a pretty sinking feeling, your heart drops into your lap.

″I looked for a couple of months ... and then called it a total loss.″

Total was right; Johnson had no insurance on the 1962 model.

Last week, Missouri Highway Patrolman Bob Schure entered his life.

Schure said a south St. Louis County man came in to Troop C headquarters to apply for a new registration on his Corvette.

The car’s title incorrectly said it was a 1973 model, and the vehicle identification plate was missing from the steering column. Schure obtained an ID number from another part of the car and ran it through the FBI’s crime computer in Washington.

The computer identified the Corvette as Johnson’s stolen car.

Johnson was still the legal owner, since he was never reimbursed for the theft. The man who tried to register it told Schure he had paid $14,000 for the car and spent $3,500 on repairs.

Johnson said the car, which he bought used for $1,300 in 1969, was now worth about $25,000.

″I feel bad for the guy who had it; I really do,″ Johnson said. ″I know how bad I felt when I lost it.″

Schure said the man can sue the person who sold it to him.

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