Please pass this along to anyone you know- the more people who know,
the less chance thieves have of taking this overseas....
Reward posted for stolen hot rod
By MICHAEL JIGGINS
A U.S. custom car company hopes a $5,000 reward will turn up the heat on the "crooks" who stole a one-of-a-kind hot rod from a Brockville parking lot.
"Five grand will get a lot of jaws flapping, I think," Brian Ferguson of Rad Rides By Troy told The Recorder and Times on Friday afternoon.
Ferguson said he hasn't had any leads since someone drove off with his Ford pickup truck and trailer, which contained the 1937 Ford convertible, around 6 a.m. Thursday.
The distinctive burnt-orange custom ride is worth $450,000.
The locked truck/trailer unit was parked in the A&P parking lot, adjacent to the Comfort Inn where Ferguson stayed Wednesday night.
He said Brockville police told him they were investigating two possible sightings, "but I haven't heard anything back from them."
City police had no update Friday.
Ferguson stopped in Brockville on his way to an automobile show in Quebec City this weekend where the custom-built Ford was to be the featured attraction.
He'd left Manteno, Illinois, home base of the company, Wednesday morning and stopped in Brockville that night.
Ferguson, who plans to fly back to Illinois today, sounded depressed when he spoke Friday.
"I'm just frustrated. I've never been this frustrated," he said. "I hate crooks to start with. We work hard every day to get where we were, 10 hours a day minimum, and then some asshole does this."
He said there were 8,500 man-hours in rebuilding the classic car, of which every part was custom made.
The car is owned by an Iowa entrepreneur, said Ferguson.
"The owner has never even driven it. ... This car has been like a dream of his," said Ferguson, who has broken the news to the owner.
"He wasn't really happy, as you can imagine."
Ferguson is convinced whoever stole his truck and trailer had no idea the classic hot rod was inside.
And because the car - dubbed Chocolate Thunder by auto writers - is so well-known in custom circles, he said it's unlikely they'll be able to move it.
"The guys in the car world think that that thing is going to be so red hot, that (the thieves) are going to want to ditch it right away," he explained.
"They're not going to want to mess with that because it's too hard to hide."
Which leads to Ferguson's biggest fear.
"My fear is they will burn it or they'll destroy the car trying to steal what things they could," he said.
Ferguson said he's been in touch with Ontario custom car companies and has spent the past two days talking to people and searching for the car himself.
He even hired a plane to fly him along Highway 401.
"It just drives you crazy because that's the only thing you can think about. You just keep thinking if I drive another mile, I'll turn the corner and see it," he noted.
The truck is a white 1999 Ford F350 four-door crew cab with dual rear wheels. It has a 32-foot goose-neck enclosed car trailer hooked to the back of it. The trailer is white with blue logos on either side which read, Rad Rides by Troy.
Both the truck and trailer have Illinois licence plates, number 799 68D on the truck and 722 5TE on the trailer.
Rad Rides will pay the reward for information that leads to the return of the classic car and arrest and conviction of whoever took it.
While hopeful the cash will spark some leads, Ferguson still pegs the chances of getting the car back at only "50-50."
Ferguson has travelled with the car to 14 major U.S. cities, and to hundreds of other shows in his seven years with Rad Rides and "never even had so much as a scratch on one."
He admitted the experience hasn't left him with fond memories of Canada.
"Especially when you start talking to people around here and they talk about how bad the auto theft is," he said.
Indeed, Ferguson's truck and trailer was one of two stolen from north-end hotels overnight Wednesday and among three taken in the city this week, according to Brockville police.
• Published in Section A, page 1 in the Saturday, April 8, 2006 edition of the Brockville Recorder & Times.
• Posted 10:00:08 AM Saturday, April 8, 2006.
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