04 March 2022
In 2001, a rare 1938 Talbot Lago ‘Teardrop’ coupé was stolen from a Milwaukee business. The purloined, rare French sports car was put on a ship bound for Switzerland. It appears this is a widespread practice with car thieves.
However, the FBI finally caught up with the crook and arrested him in Switzerland, where he lives.
But what makes this story even more interesting is that when cars are stolen and put on ships, they are rarely ever heard of again, often disguised and sold on the black market.
In this case, Christopher Gardner, a resident in Switzerland, decided to keep the ‘Teardrop’. In 2006 he started to restore it.
In 2015, the Talbot Lago ‘Teardrop’ coupé was sold publicly to a buyer in Illinois for £5.7 million.
In 1938, only 16 1938 Talbot Lago ‘Teardrop’ coupés were built. Of the 16, very few have made it to market.
What could have made Gardner sell such a well-known motor car openly, it beggars’ belief?
More astonishing is that Gardner had been on the FBI’s most-wanted list for the past twenty years, and he would have been fully aware of that.
In May 2019, Gardner was indicted on multiple counts of wire fraud and one count of transportation of a stolen motor vehicle in foreign commerce. In June 2021, he was finally arrested in Italy, where he was on house arrest, but made a run for it and was eventually apprehended.
The FBI has confirmed they are ‘waiting to determine the details of the arrests, detention status, and status of his extradition and extradition process.’