Local man finds stolen car after 16 years

A Jefferson City man got a surprise of a lifetime when he found a classic car for sale online.

It wasn't just any classic car; it was his classic car which had been stolen 16 years ago.

Edward Neeley bought his 1969 Camaro on April 12, 1982 with his high school graduation money.

"I use to wait until I got paid every two weeks to put a new part on the car and fix it up," Neeley said. "I fixed it up, had it repainted; put a lot of new parts on it."

But in 1995, on April Fool's Day Neeley's Camaro was stolen in Las Vegas.

"I was heart broken and if kind of gave up on cars, gave up on working on cars," Neeley said.

He had given up on classic cars until his brother convinced him to go to a car show in the capitol city over the summer and it sparked his interest in them again.

When neeley got back from the car show he Googled ~1969 pro-street Camaro TM to see if there was one he liked enough to buy.

"Something in my brain said click here and I went that fast and my car popped up, Neeley said. I was like in shock."

Neeley said he knew it was his Camaro because of the customized pieces he added years before.

"It has a polished aluminum firewall that I TMd put on it, double bends in the roll bar that I had done that are customized and the line lock on the breaking system was one of the main keys," Neeley said.

But the car had a new owner, a man from Utah, who bought it four years ago on eBay from a seller in Las Vegas.

Investigators said the new owner bought the car not knowing the vehicle identification number had been switched and it wasn't caught when the car was registered.

Now Neeley has 16-years of catching up to do with his Camaro.

"I TMm going to get her back into shape and get her back to where I just enjoy the car," Neeley said.

Neeley wants the car, affectionately named Chelsey Pearl, like it use to be, black with silver pearl stripes.

He said he's glad he never gave up looking for his car.