A car stolen 28 years ago was returned to its original owner Monday morning.
Salinas native Lynda Alsip was only 17 when she bought her first car, a 1967 Ford Mustang, with money she earned at a summer job in 1986. But, soon after she bought it for $800, someone stole the car from her home.
Earlier this month, after nearly three decades of searching, a California Highway Patrol VIN inspection officer, Christoper Menchen, found Alsip’s car.
“I never thought I would see it again, it doesn't happen,” Alsip said. “It's like winning the lottery, it happens to some people, but very few and far between, and for it to happen to me, it's just an amazing feeling.”
CHP officers found the car in a garage in Salinas, where it had apparently been the whole time.
According to CHP Capt. Bill Perlstein, these kinds of reunions are rare.
“But it does happen,” Capt. Perlstein said. “It is sort of a Christmas miracle, and we are really happy to give her her car back.”
In 1986 Alsip ordered custom license plates that read "LYNDA67," for the year she was born. Her fancy plates arrived after her car was stolen, but she always kept them. So on Monday, she put the plates on the Mustang for the first time.
Alsip was overcome with bittersweet emotions as she touched her old Mustan, remembering the many mechanic lessons she received from her late father.
“He taught me how to change the oil in vehicles on this car,” she said. “He’s no longer with us, so it’s very bittersweet. It's an amazing feeing to have this car back. It's an amazing blessing. I couldn't ask for a better Christmas present.”