eBay helps classic car owner reunite with stolen 1967 Austin Healey 3000

In recent years, we've heard stories about online buying sites helping Americans recover small lost or stolen items like GPS units, bikes and books. However, on Sunday, July 8, The Associated Press detailed a story about one classic car lover who was able to find a stolen vehicle by regularly searching online.

Nearly 42 years after an unknown individual stole his 1967 Austin Healey 3000 from outside his Philadelphia apartment, Dallas resident Bob Russell was finally reunited with his classic British sports car. The 66-year-old car enthusiast never quite gave up on finding his baby. He told the source he spent years surfing the internet, hoping his long-lost Healey would resurface.

This June officially marked Russell's lucky day. After getting out of bed and logging onto eBay, he found his old car listed for sale by dealer on an online auction site.

"The fact that the car still exists is improbable. It could have been junked or wrecked," Russell told the AP. "Ever since eBay showed up, I'd check it periodically, I checked it on Friday, May 11, and there it was."

By obtaining the vehicle identification number (VIN), Russell was able to verify that the car was indeed his stolen model. Because he kept good records, Russell had the original key, car title and signed affidavits from friends, making it possible to prove he never sold the vehicle. One roadblock surfaced, however, since Russell didn't have a copy of the stolen vehicle report.

After about four weeks of haggling with the dealer, he was able to track down the report, which wasn't showing up in FBI databases as one digit in the VIN number he listed was incorrect.

Following this development, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was able to impound the car, and after a few thousands dollars in fees, Russell was back in the driver's seat at last with the happy ending he'd been hoping for.