Allstate announced today that it will sell a recovered 1965 Volkswagen bus at auction and donate the proceeds to Lydia Place, a nonprofit organization in Washington state serving homeless women and children impacted by domestic violence.
“Allstate has a long and proud history of supporting domestic violence survivors,” said Michelle Lee, field vice president of Allstate’s northwest region. “It’s our hope that the tremendous public interest in this unique vehicle and its unique history will translate into a significant contribution to Lydia Place.”
In 1974, the VW bus was reported stolen by an Allstate customer, Michele Squires, then and now a resident of Spokane. Allstate paid Squires claim and, as part of the claims process, the vehicle title was transferred to Allstate.
Last month, Squires told reporters she might like the vehicle back. She even contacted Allstate.The restored and pristine blue and white van could be worth more than $25,000.
The vehicle, which was stolen from a repair shop, was missing for 35 years until October of this year, when it was discovered during a U.S. Customs Service inspection of a shipping container departing for the Netherlands. U.S. Customs, the California Highway Patrol, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau conducted an investigation of the vehicle’s history, which includes several possessors in multiple states across the country during the last 35 years, and concluded that Allstate is the lawful titleholder.
“Typically, if we do recover a stolen vehicle, it’s in worse shape than before it was stolen and it’s worth less – sometimes far less – than the amount we paid to our customer to settle their claim,” noted Paul Huber, Allstate’s director of claims in the company’s northwest region. “The situation with this bus is so unique that we thought it required a unique approach.”
Working with national auction vendor, Copart, Allstate will make the 1965 VW bus available for public auction on Friday, December 18, 2009.
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