Oregon resident Cristin Elliott has been reunited with her 1971 Chevy Nova after it was stolen 13 years ago.
According to a report from Oregon Live, Elliott’s Chevy Nova was stolen in September of 2010 from Southeast Orient Drive in Gresham, where it was parked in front of a friend’s home. Years later, in 2019, Elliott discovered her Nova in a craigslist ad, and instantly knew it was hers. Elliott’s Nova was located at a classic car dealer in Canby, but it would take another four years to regain ownership.
As the story goes, the selling party, Jeremy Conroy, said that he found the Chevy Nova for sale on Facebook Marketplace, where it was listed for $10,000. The Conroy got in contact with the seller, Portland resident Andy Maes, and decided to put a deposit down. However, the Chevy Nova needed a new title.
In the process of generating a new title, the DMV apparently ran a check on the VIN, but it didn’t come back as stolen as the records were deleted in 2015 per the FBI’s National Crime Information Center policy, which clears stolen vehicle records if they are not recovered within four years. To complicate matters, Oregon police failed to resubmit to the state database following the record’s deletion from the FBI database.
Essentially, the paperwork behind the Chevy Nova wasn’t in order, and when Conroy got the new title from Maes, he was surprised to see it listed as “Totaled, Reconstructed.” Conroy attempted to contact Maes about the inconsistencies, but the latter failed to respond to follow-up calls. That’s when Conroy decided to list it on craigslist.
Detectives ended up taking possession of the vehicle following Elliott’s report, and criminal charges were filed against Maes. A series of legal wrangling lead to Maes’ arrest, but due to statute of limitations and delays, the charges were eventually dismissed. However, in April, Elliott and Conroy met in court, both expressing interest in the Chevy Nova. The judge eventually decided to give the car to Elliott.
When she got it back, Elliott’s Chevy Nova was equipped with new black seats, swapped in from the original red seats, while the interior chrome molding was missing. However, Elliott says she is just happy to have her car back, and that she’ll clean it up and get it running again – this time with a GPS tracker installed.