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Dead mans hot rods taken in $250K theft
The vehicles stolen from a dead Manteca man’s residence include, top photo, a 1998 GMC Fleet size HR, middle photo, a 1940s Ford coupe, and bottom photo, a 1950 Chevy step side pickup. - photo by PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED
An elderly Manteca man’s hot rods, valued at some $250,000, were stolen from the garage of his home shortly after his death in his Louise Avenue residence.

Peter Karkie was said to have died on Saturday, January 9, in his ranchette at 700 block of West Louise Avenue.  The residence was subsequently sealed by the coroner’s office on that day.  Friends reportedly arrived at the house on Monday and discovered the vehicles missing, according to Steve Schluer of the Delta Regional Auto Theft Task Force (DELTARAT).

Schluer said the thefts occurred sometime between Sunday evening at 5 p.m. and Monday morning.  He added that the investigation has taken officers to other agencies and into other counties in search of the suspects.

Karkie lived in a large home on the property that had a detached garage where several of the vehicles were housed.  The case was first handled by the Manteca Police Department before it was turned over to the CHP-run auto theft task force.

The missing vehicles included a canary yellow two-door 1947 Ford delivery truck valued at $45,000; a 1950 Chevy step side pickup with a custom design and flames on the rear fenders valued at $30,000; a 1940 two-door, gray Ford coupe valued at $50,000; a 1998 red GMC Sierra Fleet size HR valued at $35,000; a 1961 Harley Davidson Arlen Ness – one of his first customized motorcycles;  a 2004 Hallmark Industry enclosed trailer valued at $6,500 along with $40,000 worth of tools and an air compressor.

Officers said entry was made into the garage with some type of pry bar.  There were no signs of entry into the house, police said, where personal papers were taken near the office area. Karkie worked as an appraiser in the Manteca area.