Police confiscate Holbrook man's Mustang for being stolen in 1980

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HOLBROOK -

A Holbrook man says his classic Ford Mustang convertible was taken away by police after they told him it was stolen more than 30 years ago.

Steven Merced bought the 1966 Mustang in 2003 for his daughter's 16th birthday. He says he paid $3,500 for it and poured more than $60,000 into the car to restore it.

"It was a gorgeous car," he says. "All I've got is pictures of it now."

The Suffolk Police Auto Squad impounded Merced's Mustang in September after a detective checked the vehicle identification number underneath the hood.

Merced says he was told the vehicle was stolen in 1980 and that the state Department of Motor Vehicles recently began digitizing VINs from decades-old stolen car reports. That's how Merced's Mustang became the focus of a stolen vehicle investigation by Suffolk police.

After three months, Merced says police haven't told him where the car is or the status of the investigation. He says his insurance company wrote him a $1,450 check for his loss. But he doesn't want the money; he just wants his car back.

A Suffolk police spokesman says the Mustang is being held at the Westhampton impound yard and that the investigation is ongoing.

Merced says he plans to take legal action if he doesn't get his car back soon.

"Something's got to be done about this," he says. "This is unfair."

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