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Arkansas man reunited with stolen 1968 Mustang

Don Morgan never thought he'd see his 1968 Mustang after it was stolen from his shop in October of 2021, but investigators tracked it down and brought it home.

COMBS, Ark. — Hope was nearly lost after a 1968 Mustang was stolen from Don Morgan’s shop in Lamar, Arkansas in October of 2021.  

"They had been in the house and ransacked a lot of stuff," Morgan recounted the day he called 911. "They just went in and helped theirself (sic) to my tools and my vehicle. It was a sad day for me." 

When Morgan initially made the discovery, he said he didn’t believe he would see the car again.  

"When you have a car like this and someone takes that car, the chances of getting it back are very slim," he said. 

Morgan filed a report with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Investigator Michael Huber was tasked with the case.

“We always try to do our due diligence and look for leads,” Huber said. “We had a lucky break during one of our cases.” 

The Sheriff’s office was investigating a residence after a patrol deputy stopped a vehicle, which led them to recover some stolen property. Although the Mustang was not among these items, new details about the theft emerged.

“During that investigation, it led into some information about Mr. Morgan’s 1968 Mustang,” Huber said. 

The investigation took the search across the state of Arkansas. Eventually, Huber said he was able to track the sale of the car just outside of Houston, Texas.  

"I contacted the Harris County Constable’s office in that area," Huber said. "We knew from point to point. We knew from where the car left from the suspects."

The Harris County Auto Theft Taskforce followed up on Huber’s report and found the car in Katy, Texas. It was then taken into their impound lot. Soon after, a hearing was scheduled which would allow Don Morgan to claim his property. 

The planning to recover the car was underway and reserve deputies with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office volunteered their time, money and equipment to make it happen.  

Hunter Whitkanack is the corrections officer from Johnson County Detention Center who volunteered to make the drive with Morgan. He said he grew up seeing Morgan’s car his whole life and wanted to bring it home. 

“It was 520 miles,” Whitkanack said. “We went round-trip about 21 hours. It was a little bit of a heartbreak to see the beautiful paint job destroyed.” 

After a long five months, the car is finally back home with Morgan, who says he wasn't worried about the current condition of the car.

“It was red,” Morgan said. “It had a beautiful paint job on it. Now, it’s in primer, but I can fix that.” 

While relieved to have his car returned, Morgan said he is happiest knowing the memories with his mother came back with the car.

“I lost my mother last year. She was 95 and I was close to her,” Morgan said. “She rode in the car and she liked the car. It’s just like my family.” 

Johnson County investigators said nearly $100,000 in personal property have been recovered through this investigation and further charges and arrests are expected to be made. 

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