HJ/EDMay 15, 2006

Stolen vintage car found

By Lynda Jensen

What was stolen is found again – and Pat Bickmann of Howard Lake can rest easy with his beloved vintage 1983 Hurst Oldsmobile Cutlass safe in his driveway again.

But it might have taken much longer for the Bickmanns to get the car back without watchful newspaper readers, Pat’s wife, Barb, said.

“We don’t know when anyone would have called if we hadn’t gotten that phone call about a possible sighting,” Barb reported last week.

The Bickmanns got a tip from some Cokato readers who thought they saw the car go by about 100 mph past a school bus in Cokato, she said.

The Bickmanns called the tip into police.

“The police called back a half hour later, and said that the car in Cokato couldn’t have been his because it was recovered Monday morning at a residence in St. Anthony,” Barb said. “No one had called us after they recovered the vehicle to tell us it had been found,” she said.

Worse yet, the car was sitting in an impound lot that was costing them money every day it was there. “We had to pay $192 to get the car out,” she said.

When the Bickmanns arrived at the lot in St. Anthony, Pat had to remove the steering wheel and replace the ignition switch because the vehicle was found locked and there were no keys.

Pat also found that a couple spark plug wires had been removed from the spark plugs, and that their were other wires unplugged.

“The towing service man had told us that when he went to the address to tow Pat’s car, he had to also tow a white suburban that was at that same residence and stolen,” Barb said.

“All we were told (by the towing service, not the police) was that the suburban was stolen by the people living in the house, and that our car was supposedly being purchased by the roommate who was living in the home with the thieves that stole the suburban,” she said.

However, after all is said and done, the Bickmanns are relieved that the car was located.

“Pat is very happy to have his car back home with him. We would like to make sure that special appreciation goes out to everyone who was helping us to try to find Pat’s car,” Barb said.

How it started

The car was originally stolen from a mini storage unit located across from the Dassel- Cokato High School.

The day it was stolen, Pat drove around for hours aimlessly looking for it, and showing people a picture of it, asking them if they had seen it.

It was stolen some time between Sunday, April 30 and Tuesday, May 2.

Pat Bickmann scraped up money to buy it about two years ago, entering it into a car show the day after he purchased it.

The Bickmanns bought it from Orly Hoernemann of Lester Prairie.

It was a big purchase for their family, but his wife Barb understood how much he was taken with the car and gave her blessing to the purchase. “It is his dream car,” Barb said.

The car won a first-place trophy in its class at Good Neighbor Days in Howard Lake. “It was the first trophy I won in my whole life,” he said.

He entered it in several other car shows, including Waverly and Montrose, and then bedded it down for the winter in storage because there was no room at the house for it.

About three weeks ago, he went to the storage to swap his snow blower for his summer mowing equipment.

He admitted that the keys were inside the car, but he thought it was safe because it was in a locked storage unit. This turned out not to be so.

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