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National

Omaha Man Reunited With Stolen Motorcycle 46 Years Later

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Forty-six years ago, a man in Omaha, Neb., parked his 1953 Triumph Tiger motorcycle in his backyard. The next morning, it was gone - stolen.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Well, it turned up here in Southern California just a few weeks ago. The bike was inside a shipping container at the Port of Los Angeles. Where was it headed?

LOU KOVEN: It was going to Japan.

CORNISH: That's special agent Lou Koven. He investigates vehicle thefts for the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

BLOCK: Koven says the bureau ran the bike's vehicle ID number through its database, as it does for all soon-to-be exported vehicles. Sure enough, the motorcycle came up stolen from Nebraska in 1967. So Koven called Omaha Police.

KOVEN: I asked them - I said look, I'm kind of guessing here that you may not have this report, but I have to check. And the guy went on the computer, and he came back. He says yeah, we have a copy of it. I said, really? I was like, this is great.

CORNISH: Special Agent Koven then called the owner, who was skeptical. Koven says he had to send photos of the recovered bike, which was still in good shape.

KOVEN: Well, it was in beautiful condition. It - completely repainted, a black frame, a lot of chrome on it. It looked like it'd just come off the factory line.

BLOCK: Where the motorcycle has been all these years is a mystery. And for now, its owner's identity is also a mystery. He wishes to remain anonymous. Again, Lou Koven.

KOVEN: He's a 72-year-old man, and he currently does own some motorcycles - because he indicated to me that he still does ride. And he's very anxious about getting the motorcycle back.

CORNISH: And he will soon. The 1953 Triumph Tiger is on its way home to Nebraska.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BORN TO BE WILD")

CORNISH: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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