Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rolls...and you Rolls Alone

For nearly a quarter century sitting meekly in Customs:
The owner of one of the largest trucking companies in the Port of Seattle has been convicted of stealing a Rolls-Royce that once was owned by the Saudi royal family and held by U.S. Customs for more than 20 years.

....Prosecutors say that in 2004 [Eric] Rangeloff took the 1983 Silver Spirit sedan from a Customs "Foreign Trade Zone," an area where some imports are held before clearing Customs to enter the United States.

The car's owner was identified in court papers as Gary Gaffner, a former Boeing engineer and airplane salesman who bought the car in Saudi Arabia for more than $100,000. The U.S. Attorney's Office said the car had been owned by the Saudi royal family and had been customized for use by a Saudi princess.

Gaffner had intended to import the car, but it couldn't pass U.S. safety and emissions requirements. The car had sat in the warehouse for more than 20 years while Gaffner waited for a 25-year deadline to pass so he could bring the car into the United States without the alterations, according to court documents.

Gaffner, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Thomas, had paid more than $20,000 in storage fees.

He gave up his quest to import the car shortly after the 2004 theft and it has since been auctioned to a collector in Rotterdam, according to testimony and court papers.

No comments: