From the Archives: Stolen Ferrari found buried in backyard

From the Archives: Stolen Ferrari found buried in backyard
Feb. 7, 1978: A buried Ferrari stolen in 1974, is dug up from a backyard on W. 119th Street, still in good condition. (Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times)

Feb. 7, 1978: A buried Ferrari, stolen in 1974, is dug up from a backyard on West 119th Street, still in good condition.

Staff writer Priscilla Painton reported in the next morning's Los Angeles Times:


It was about a week ago that Sgts. Joe Sabas and Lenny Carroll of the Lennox sheriff's substation were flagged down by some children outside a house at 1137 W. 119th St.

The youngsters had been playing in the backyard of the home, digging in the mud, when they found something unusual just below the surface. They told Sabas and Carroll it felt like the roof of a car.

On Tuesday, the two detectives, aided by a skip-loader and some helpers with shovels, returned to the home and found out just how unusual their discovery was.

What the men uncovered was a green, 1974 Ferrari--a car worth at least $18,000 new.

Just how the once-elegant 264 Dino Ferrari came to be buried in the home's backyard remained a mystery Tuesday evening. However investigators said they had learned the car had been purchased in October 1974 by a man named Rosendo Cruz of Alhambra. Two months later, on Dec. 7, Cruz reported the car stolen.

The stolen car report remained on file at the Rampart Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, but no more was heard of the vehicle until Tuesday. In the meantime, Cruz's insurance company had reimbursed him.

Neither the present tenants nor the home's owners knew anything of the vehicle, investigators said, so the case of the buried Ferrari remains a mystery.

Apart from a small hole above the right taillight, the car appears in surprisingly good condition. But no one seems to know how it could have been buried without attracting attention in the neighborhood.

"It's not like planting cabbages," Sabas joked.

This photo by staff photographer Larry Sharkey was published in the Feb. 8, 1978, Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles Herald-Examiner staff photographer Michael Haering also photographed this car. Two of his images are online at the Los Angeles Public Library website.

This post was originally published on Nov. 1, 2013.