Man gets car back 34 years after it's stolen: 'It's absolutely beautiful'
NORTH CANTON, Ohio - Ron Reolfi was a college student in 1981 when he paid $600 for a used Chevy Camaro.
"My girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife, lived in Plain Township and I would drive by this car quite often going back and forth to her house," said Reolfi. "And it was in the driveway and it rarely ever was missing from there. I went and knocked on the door and asked the guy if he wanted to sell it and he did."
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For the next year he and his father worked to get the car in better shape.
See photos of the stolen vintage car:
"I know we replaced all the chrome, well probably 90% of the chrome," said his father, Bob Reolfi.
Only a couple of weeks after completing the work, Ron said he drove it to the grocery store where he worked, and parked it under a light pole where he thought it was safe.
"I was eating my lunch. I was studying and went back into the store, went back to work, came back out and the car was gone," said Ron
Reolfi said he spent the following weeks and months driving around looking for the car.
Both father and son said just the time spent together working on the car gave it sentimental value for which there is no price.
The car had long been forgotten when, in October 2014, Bob said he got a call from a detective in Jackson Township asking about a '68 Camaro.
"I told him it was stolen and he says they found the vehicle," said Bob. "And right away I asked him if there was a chance we could get this vehicle back. He says 'well, you sure have a horse in the race,'" said Bob.
The discovery had been made when a buyer in Delaware attempted to get a title for the car.
Bob Reolfi said the car's VIN number was still in a decades-old database, with him as the last legitimate owner.
The following year he worked with attorneys and his insurance company to iron out challenges in determining who is now the rightful owner, ironing out a settlement, finding the original title, and clashing with the previous owner who also wanted to make a claim.
"I can remember my dad having the resolve saying this car belongs in this family. We are going to do whatever we have to do to get the car back so that's what we did," said Ron.
The Reolfis said police told them they discovered four documented owners over the past 30-plus years.
They said there were some unique features to the car that they remembered, and when Ron and a friend went to Delaware to get it, there was no question it was the same car.
But the people who have had it during the time it was gone have made some changes of their own.
"It's been improved on quite a bit. It's twice the car that somebody stole from us 34 years ago," said Ron.
"It's kind of like the new girl at the dance. You just don't know how to act around this car yet," said Ron. "It's here and we have the plates for it and it's titled and it's nice to drive it around the block and enjoy it. I think it's one of the most beautiful cars I have ever seen. It was the picture I had in my mind 34 years ago when we painted it that color with that stripe and it still is today. I just think it's absolutely beautiful."
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