Wonder who publicized the van’s location to begin with? So the “neighbor” granted access to the property, and facilitated the removal of the van . I am sure that person has been charged as well?
The van gathered quite a bit of attention (granted, among select groups) during its resurrection, but the owners didn’t file a stolen vehicle report until after it was restored. I have an Alfa that I wish was in a similar situation. I would, however, not in any way be able to believably claim that I didn’t know it was missing.
The van can’t be returned in as-taken condition. Does that mean the van can be returned to the owners without the many parts added during the restoration? Those are many but tangible and certainly accounted for. Wonder if the almost-ex-wife is entitled to 50% of their value? Are there taxes involved? Somebody is getting a free restoration out of this, if the van is recovered.
Strange and sad. I am reminded of the fact that you can’t “rescue” cars or vans like you can animals, though in my family neglected and abused subjects are viewed in similar ways, and a few of each have found homes. Both have their respective papers, and previous owners have legally surrendered their rights, involuntarily or without their knowledge only in the case of a horse.