In 2001 a mysterious vintage car thief he had stolen a car of great value from a garage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A 1938 Talbot Lago T150C SS Teadrop Coupé, a very rare example as there are very few units (16) and that each of them has obtained a craftsmanship that goes beyond the economic value.
Christopher C. Gardner, now 65 years old, he was arrested in 2021, twenty years later, in Genoa: the investigations have reconstructed the whole affair linked to the car and have come to him. The perpetrator of the theft, born in the United States but resident in Switzerland, had taken the car from Roy Leiske, sending it to France in order to later obtain substantial profits from its sale. After several years in the shadows, and with the car reassembled and completed in detail, the desired sale finally took place. It was an American citizen who bought it in Chicago for a whopping 7.6 million dollars in 2015.
The death of the rightful owner of the car (in 2005) was crucial. In fact, the thief had falsified the vehicle documents, pretending to have bought it from the nephew of the deceased. The police had ‘taken the bait’, removing the Talbot from the list of missing cars. However, with the subsequent millionaire sale it was understood that something was wrong in the documentary history.
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In 2019, the US authorities began to hunt down the thief and then illicit salesman, after having collected all the evidence. After issuing an arrest warrant, they developed an international police operation that brought them back to where they wanted. The man, in fact, was intercepted while staying in a hotel in the center of Genoa. He was later taken to the Marassi prison, waiting for the judges of the appellate court to decide on his extradition.. Gardner faces 30 years in prison. The tracing took place thanks to the mandatory communication of the names of the guests to the police headquarters.
What was supposed to be a perfect shot turned out to be a spiral towards the handcuffs, even if the timing wasn’t the best. Further developments are awaited on the ways in which the thief will compensate the family who had enjoyed possession of the vintage car until 2001.