The owner is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

It’s every collector’s nightmare come true: a beloved vehicle stolen in the middle of the night, right out from under your nose. That’s exactly what an auto body shop owner in Clarksville, Tennessee is dealing with after someone recently took two of his own cars. Using a GM tow truck, the unidentified suspects loaded up one car under the cover of darkness, then returned later for the second classic car. Both vehicles were being stored in shipping containers.

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James Rollins told local news station WKRN that surveillance video captured the thefts, which took place outside of this business, The Shop. It took the suspects a mere five minutes to load the first crate and drive off, the 1941 Chevrolet Deluxe Master two-door coupe inside seemingly gone forever.

Rollins said the coupe was one of the first commercial vehicles to offer air conditioning, making it historically important. The Chevy also had extensive restoration work done, including all the wiring replaced, a new engine installed, and the interior restored to perfection. After all the money and time spent on making the truck just the way he liked it, Rollins might never get to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Even worse, the car had been gifted to him by a friend shortly before that friend passed away from a battle with cancer.  

Thieves Steal Two Classic Cars From Tennessee Shop

As if that weren’t enough, the suspects returned later in the night and took a second shipping container. Inside that was a 1964 Pontiac Star Chief. While it hadn’t been restored like the Chevy pickup, having it taken like that was still a big violation of trust.

The body shop Rollins owns focuses on restoring classic cars for customers. For that reason, Rollins believes the thieves possibly knew the containers had old cars in them, figuring they would be worth a considerable amount.

At least two people are suspected of stealing the cars, with one standing outside of a GMC tow truck spotting while the other was in the cab maneuvering everything. Rollins is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone providing information which leads to an arrest.