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Last of custom hot rods stolen from dead man are recovered

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POSTED January 19, 2010 1:54 a.m.

The last of a dead man’s $350,000 collection of prized vehicles was recovered at about 10 p.m. Sunday in Patterson, according to Delta Regional Auto Theft Team detective Stephen Schluer.

The 1940 Ford Coupe Deluxe, valued at $50,000, was located with the help of the Crime Stoppers network parked on a residential street in the old section of Patterson.   It was the last of the cars and trucks owned by Peter Karkie to be located.   Karkie lived in the 700 block of West Louise Avenue. The collection was taken last weekend following his death and after a coroner’s seal was placed on his residence.

One arrest has already been made in Tracy; however the suspect’s identity has yet to be released by detectives.  He is charged with six counts of auto theft and possession of stolen vehicles after most of the collection was discovered parked on a Tracy dairy farm.  He remains in the San Joaquin County Jail in lieu of $152,250 bail and will appear in court on Thursday.

Another prime suspect was set to be interviewed Monday morning by detectives; however that person has failed to meet with officers who expect to talk with today.

Schluer said that it appeared the car found in Patterson had been pushed to its location.  It had some damage to the right front, as well as to the cowling, and the air bag system that is designed to raise and lower the car on its frame had failed causing the vehicle to scrape on the ground.

The detective said the car had been apparently sold by thieves but was later “unpurchased ” and returned.  He said the door panel had been found in the back seat and the cars knobs were missing.

The recovered vehicles included a canary yellow, two-door 1947 Ford delivery van valued at $45,000, a 1950 Chevy step side pickup truck with a custom design and flames on the rear fenders valued at $30,000, and a 1998, red, GMC Sierra Fleet size HR valued at $35,000 along with the 1961 Harley Davidson Arlen Ness motorcycle – one of his first customized bikes – valued at $140,000.  An enclosed Haulmark Industry enclosed trailer was also recovered.  However, the $40,000 worth of tools and an air compressor are still outstanding, detectives said.

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