MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Forty-six years ago, a man in Omaha, Nebraska, parked his 1953 Triumph Tiger motorcycle in his backyard. The next morning it was gone, stolen.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Well, it turned up here in Southern California just a few weeks ago. The bike was inside a shipping container at the Port of Los Angeles. Where was it headed?
LOU KOVEN: It was going to Japan.
CORNISH: That's special agent Lou Koven. He investigates vehicle thefts for the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
BLOCK: Koven says the bureau ran the bike's vehicle ID number through its database, as it does for all soon-to-be exported vehicles. Sure enough, the motorcycle came up stolen from Nebraska in 1967. So Koven called Omaha Police.
KOVEN: I asked them. I said look, I'm kind of guessing here that you may not have this report, but I have to check and the guy went on the computer and he came back. He says yeah, we have a copy of it. I said really. I was like, this is great.
CORNISH: Special Agent Koven then called the owner who was skeptical. Koven says he had to send photos of the recovered bike, which was still in good shape.
KOVEN: Well, it was in beautiful condition. It completely repainted, a black frame, a lot of chrome on it. It looked like it'd just come off the factory line.
BLOCK: Where the motorcycle has been all these years is a mystery. And for now, its owner's identity is also a mystery. He wishes to remain anonymous. Again, Lou Koven.
KOVEN: He's a 72-year-old man and he currently does own some motorcycles, because he indicated to me that he still does ride. And he's very anxious about getting the motorcycle back.
CORNISH: And he will soon. The 1953 Triumph Tiger is on its way home to Nebraska.
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CORNISH: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.