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Stolen Parts RECOVERED - Bakersfield, CA - Full Story

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  • Stolen Parts RECOVERED - Bakersfield, CA - Full Story

    In November of 2017 I posted about my ’57 PW parts being stolen from my storage containers off of Rosedale Hwy in Bakersfield, CA. I did not have high hopes of ever retrieving them again. I tried to keep an eye on Craigslist and eBay, but I had my right hip replaced in Dec followed by my left in Feb and could not keep up my surveillance of the webs sites. Throughout 2018 I have been steadily replacing the stolen parts as I have time to inventory my systems and have to admit that I have met a lot of good folks doing legitimate business in Dodge PW parts here in SoCal and send my thanks to you guys!

    Fast forward to Dec of 2018, fully recovered with two new hips and I am in the middle of installing new 4.89’s and rebuilding the differentials when I get a random urge to check eBay and I type in “Vintage Dodge Powerwagon Parts” and what pops up but a pallet of my parts for sale in Bakersfield CA!!

    I decided to purchase the parts for the price offered and immediately contacted the Kern County Sheriff and give them the details and the Detective called me back to discuss what was going on. I wrote to the seller that I would come to Bakersfield to get the parts after the Christmas holidays and we agreed on Jan 5, 2019. He then proceeded to correspond with me and offered me a fully restored NP420 transmission and rear axle housing. One look at the photos confirmed that they were mine. Also, on the pallet with the axle happened to be the base of one of several basalt pagoda lamps that I had imported during my travels in the South Pacific,… I did not even realize they had been stolen as well.

    I did some asking around of my Bakersfield contacts and shared the sellers eBay avatar photo and immediately identified the seller as a recognized (and respected) life-long Bakersfield car/motorcycle restorer, who was thought of as a “Stand-up Guy”. So, Jan 5 rolls around and I get a trailer, drive to Bakersfield and check in at the Sheriff’s Office and let them know that I was on my way to pick up my eBay purchase and make the case to the seller that he was dealing in stolen merchandise and I wanted it back. They said they would try to put a unit in the vicinity and to back off and call them if it got tense.

    My buddy Dan joined me, as he had shared my shop while he built his Rat-Rod and was very familiar with my parts and restoration work and would vouch for my claim of ownership. After a meet-and-greet at the guy's shop (first-class clean operation), I let him know that before we even looked at the parts that they were stolen and were identifiable as mine by my marks. He confirmed that they indeed bore those marks and he did not doubt me and immediately offered to allow me to go through all of the parts and take back whatever I knew was mine and also, he returned my eBay purchase $$. He said the guy who sold the parts was selling them for the “widow of an old fella who had died of a rare blood disorder” in the midst of a PW restoration project. Well, I might have had problems with my hips, but I can assure you my blood is fine!

    As we were loading my property, and to my surprise, TWO Kern County Sheriff units rolled up and had a conversation with the seller and got the name of the party that had sold him the parts. When they ran the name through the law enforcement database, he popped up as a convicted felon, currently in prison. Turns out the eBay seller had known his family for years and knew he had been in trouble with the law and also had a meth addiction. Stand-Up Guy or not, I think he might have been a little more prudent in his purchase decision. My buddy Dan also recognized the thief as a guy that rented a storage container right next to mine in the industrial area and had even given Dan his business card for a power wash service he ran.

    Unfortunately, it turns out that a large portion of my parts has been sold through eBay to other PW restorers, maybe even somebody who may read this story. I now know that there is someone in Northern CA with my front bumpers halves, headlights, winch fair-leads and who knows what else. Also, a PW restorer in Germany has my three carburetors, the governor and for not a screw-up at customs, would have the NP420, but it got sent back.

    In conclusion, 2019 has started out on a high note for me and my PW project. I got a lot of my property back and my 1957 K6W300 restoration is again in full swing, albeit under full video surveillance and alarm system just out my back door. The deputy said that unfortunately, without airtight evidence that the identified thief was guilty (fingerprints, video) that under current funding limitations the odds that this would go any further were slim.

    If you happen to be someone who unwittingly purchased my stolen parts off of eBay from “k***co” in Bakersfield, CA you now know that your PW project is tarnished with stolen parts. If you contact him, he said he would purchase the parts back and pay for the shipping. If not, please enjoy them with great care,… Karma is a B***ch.

    Happy New Year and 2019 looks bright!



  • #3
    Would you be willing to share the screen name of the E-Bay seller? I for one would want to return parts to you if they came from such a source.
    Tim Ellis

    1953 B4 PW
    2013 Dodge 2500 Diesel

    Clean fingernails, free weekends, intact knuckles and financial stability are totally overrated.


    • dbeadle
      dbeadle commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, he goes by kibeco on ebay. It is good to know that there are still some folks out there that feel like you 53Crusher!

  • #4
    Glad to hear you got some of your stuff back. Hopefully this will lead to the return of more parts.
    I will for one keep my eyes and ears open.
    1967 W200.aka.Hank
    1946 WDX.aka.Shorty
    2012 Ram 2500 PowerWagon.aka Ollie

    Life is easier in a lower gear.


    • #5
      Happy New Year to you!! getting your body fixed and some of your parts back.

      So scary to have your parts stolen like that, I just do not know what I would do but hopefully keep my cool like you, an inspiration you are for sure.

      Thank you for sharing this.



      • dbeadle
        dbeadle commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks Pismo! Nice to be able to be on my feet again doing what makes me happy for a full day, and not regret it that evening.
        I just remembered that the eBay seller said the guy in NoCal also bought my starter and generator. I hope he happens to come across this thread and makes a good decision.

    • #6
      Thanks, Matthew. I would think it would be fairly easy to poll the PW folk in Germany. I did a quick search and see a guy named George W Schramm working on M37 in Germany. Maybe I'll reach out to him and see if he was one of the eBay buyers.


      • Matthew Welcher PWA
        Editing a comment
        George is a good guy. I have dealt with him for years.