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Video car reported stolen in 1992 buried in mansion yard

Video car reported stolen in 1992 buried in mansion yard

Just over 30 years after a car was reported stolen, police discovered it was buried in the backyard of a $15 million mansion previously owned by a man arrested for murder, attempted murder and insurance fraud. NBC News reports that the missing Mercedes Benz convertible was discovered Thursday by landscapers working at the home in Atherton, an affluent part of Silicon Valley. The car was filled with bags of unused concrete.

Police say the car was buried sometime in the 1990s, before the current owners bought the house. The car was reported stolen in nearby Palo Alto in September 1992.

It was removed by a tow truck on Saturday and cadaver dogs indicated there may be human remains at the scene. Read on to find out what the police discovered and to see the video.

NBC News

The car was buried in the yard with the hood down, authorities said, and when it was exhumed, cadaver dogs made “a small report of possible human remains,” police said. said in a statement. But this turned out to be a false alarm: After examining the area — an effort that included ground-penetrating radar — no human remains were found.

The current homeowners were not investigated, said Atherton Police Cmdr. Daniel Larsen. They did not own the house when authorities believe the car was buried. Who did? Read more.

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The house was built by Johnny Lew, a man with a history of arrests for murder, attempted murder and insurance fraud, his daughter, Jacq Searle, told the San Francisco Chronicle. She said the family lived there in the 1990s and that her father died in Washington state in 2015, a year after he sold the house.

In 1966, Lew was found guilty of the murder of a 21-year-old woman in Los Angeles County. He was released from prison after the California Supreme Court reversed the conviction in 1968, over hearsay rumors that should not have been allowed during the trial, Chronicle reported. In 1977, Lew was convicted of two counts of attempted murder in Los Angeles, and he spent three years in prison.

Luxury motor yacht on the ocean at sunset.Luxury motor yacht on the ocean at sunset.
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In 1999, Lew was charged with paying undercover agents $30,000 in cash and gold watches worth $20,000 to sink a $1.2 million yacht as part of an alleged insurance fraud, San Joaquin County authorities told The Stockton Record.

The then 62-year-old was arrested when he showed up to fill out a police report after reporting the ship, a 1997 Viking Sport Cruiser, as missing. It was the largest case of insurance fraud the state had seen to date, said then-deputy district attorney Franklin Stephenson.

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Larsen declined to say whether police believe the buried car was in Lew’s name. “We’ve heard that name pop up, but we haven’t confirmed through our sources that he was, in fact, the owner of that vehicle,” he said. KRON-TV reported Monday that the car has a personalized license plate that reads “Lew”.

Atherton Police towed the car away from the property and took it to the San Mateo County Crime Lab “for further inspection and processing,” SFgate reported. The department consults DMV data to learn more about the car.

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Atherton Police Chief Steven McCulley confirmed that police are considering insurance fraud as a possible motive, SFGate said. All the commotion has now attracted the attention and comment of local residents in the affluent neighborhood.

“We’re just waiting to hear what’s in the car. I think he probably just buried the car for insurance money,” neighbor Kathy Consani told CBS News.