Local woman's beloved stolen "Hippie Van" located after 35 years - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Local woman's beloved stolen "Hippie Van" located after 35 years

Photo taken last month courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo taken last month courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Photo taken last month courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo taken last month courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Michele Squires' VW bus was stolen in 1974 in Spokane and recovered last month by customs agents in Los Angeles Michele Squires' VW bus was stolen in 1974 in Spokane and recovered last month by customs agents in Los Angeles

CHATTAROY. Wash. - A Volkswagen Bus reported stolen to the Spokane Police Department in 1974 was recovered last month by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Los Angeles.  Michelle Squires of Chattaroy was the owner of the van at the time it was stolen over three decades ago and she says she has fond memories of her stolen vehicle.

After the story of the recovered Bus gained national attention Squires began to wonder if the vehicle was the same one that was stolen from her 35 years ago.  "I just keep thinking it's got to be a coincidence. This is a one in a billion kind of thing"

A Spokane police report lists Squires, then with the last name Carlson, as the owner of the VW Bus, which was reported stolen from a upholstery shop on July 12, 1974, while Spokane was hosting the 1974 World's Fair.

"I called it my hippie van" Squires recalled fondly, I took it to the upholstery shop because I wanted to get a fold down bed installed in the back."

The 1965 bus, which is in pristine condition and still running, was discovered on October 19 when CBP officers were examining a container scheduled to be exported to the Netherlands.

After running the VIN number on a law enforcement database, CBP officers learned that the vehicle had been reported stolen back 1974.

"This is a unique case that reflects our strategic approach in utilizing the best of intelligence, training and use of information in enforcing laws and regulations at our ports," said Kevin Weeks, CBP director of Field Operations.

CBP officers contacted state authorities who confirmed that the 1965 Volkswagen Bus case was still open and that the current owner of the car was the Allstate insurance company.

The bus was released to the local authorities who notified Allstate about the seizure.

Squires said she is going to call Allstate to see if there is a possibility of getting the Van returned to her, "I don't know if I could afford it because the restored bus is supposed to be around $25,000 now, but I would like the opportunity to talk to Allstate to see if I could get it back."

Squires said she couldn't remember exactly but she thinks she originally paid around $600 for the bus, and she believes she received close to that amount from Allstate to reimburse her for the stolen vehicle back in 1974. 

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