Owen Lokuciejewski-Taylor and girlfriend Molly Peckham of Calverley, England noticed their blue Austin A35 was missing from their driveway last week. Just three hours after making the discovery and reporting it to the local authorities, they found its burnt-out husk in a nearby field, according to Telegraph & Argus.
The motive for the theft is still unknown, but locals believe the thieves thought the car was worth a hefty sum due to its appearance and age. When they realized it wasn't, they simply disposed of it along with any evidence left behind.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said an investigation regarding the crime’s perpetrators is ongoing, though nearby CCTV cameras have already given this case a strong, albeit unidentifiable lead. Lokuciejewski-Taylor said that the footage shows two men attempting to open car doors along Carr Hill Road, until the eventually got lucky with Lokuciejewski-Taylor’s unlocked Bessie.
The A35 was sold between 1956 and 1968, replacing the previous A30 model and famously producing fewer than 300,000 units in total. The scarcity of this vehicle has made all the more tragic in this particular case since this was Lokuciejewski-Taylor’s very first car, which he lovingly named Bessie, and owned for eight long years before the crime took place.
“It’s still hard to believe, just like that and something so special to you is just gone, made all the worse by the fact that it was stolen and vandalized so thoughtlessly,” said Lokuciejewski-Taylor. “It is just such an incredible waste of history and a beautiful little car. My little blue Austin A35 was my first ever car after passing my driving test two months after my 17th birthday, and was christened with the name of Bessie.”
While this is most definitely a tragic story of a man senselessly losing his car to unwarranted theft and subsequent destruction, Lokuciejewski-Taylor has found a silver lining to the incident in the form of neighbors and locals showing their support.
“If there is any positive from all this, it is the reaction of the local (and national) community spirit. Within minutes of posting online about Bessie missing, people from all over the U.K. had rallied behind her and started looking out for her,” he said. “As so many people have said, you can’t let idiots like those lads ruin your day, so I look to the future and possibly to the next little Austin…providing Molly lets me!”
While we’ve seen plenty of cars engulfed in flames recently, the cause of fire has always been either a natural disaster or a manufacturing flaw producing the right kind of spark under volatile conditions. It’s a shame to see such wanton disregard for other people’s property.
If you have information that could help local police with the investigation, please call 101 and quote crime reference number 13180552801. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.