A Harley-Davidson motorcycle stolen from a police officer’s Charlotte, NC, backyard in 1972 was intercepted at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport and returned to its legal owner Thursday.
The 1954 Harley-Davidson Hydra-Glide was on its way to Australia when it was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents working with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), according to KACB-TV.
North Carolina resident Edgar Johnson Jr. is getting the bike because his father died four years ago.
“My dad would be tickled to get it back if he was still alive,” Johnson told CNNMoney. “I miss my dad so much. This is like a piece of him is coming back home.”
His father always regretted never being able to recover the stolen motorcycle, KABC-TV reported.
“He loved his motorcycle and he talked about it till the day he died,” he said.
Johnson plans to display the bike at auto shows, and he expressed his gratitude to those who helped recover it.
“I thank every, each one of them, from the bottom of my heart, and I know my father does too,” said Johnson.
“I actually love this part of the job, especially when it’s a happy ending like this, and it’s not in pieces,” said CHP investigator Michael Mareta.
“You know, this is part of their history and when they get this stuff back, it’s like reliving their youth, so it’s amazing to us,” said special agent Lou Koven of the NICB.
The CHP told KACB-TV that they were unable to discover who stole the vehicle in 1972. They traced the motorcycle through four previous owners, but the older of them is deceased, leaving the trail cold.
Johnson seemed happy just to have the bike back in the family.
“Words can’t describe how I’m feeling today,” said Johnson. “It’s wonderful.”
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