A man sought in the 2001 Milwaukee heist of a rare $10 million sports car is under arrest in Switzerland – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

February 24, 2022 by No Comments


As a lawsuit over ownership of a $10 million classic French sports car worked its way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2019, federal prosecutors charged the man they say stole the unrestored vehicle from a Milwaukee garage in 2001. 

There have been no new filings in the case of U.S. v. Christopher Gardner since his May 2019 indictment, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has learned Gardner, 66, is under arrest in Europe.

Meanwhile, a dispute over the vehicle’s ownership may be settled between a Chicago dental tycoon who paid $7.6 million for the fully restored car in 2015 and the heir of the theft victim.

That’s after fierce litigation turned up lots of new details about the car’s colorful and contested provenance  — and a claim that it was all part of a long-con fraud between Gardner and the man who helped the heir sue the buyer to recover the car.

FBI spokesman Leonard Peace said Gardner was arrested in December in Switzerland, where he’s been living for many years. He was arrested in Italy six months earlier but absconded from house arrest in November, according to the FBI.

“We are just waiting to determine the details of the arrests, detention status and status of his extradition and extradition process,” Peace said. “Until that is known, he will remain as Wanted by the FBI.”   

Federal prosecutors declined to talk with a reporter about the case. Gardner faces four counts of wire fraud and one count of transporting a stolen vehicle in international commerce.

More: Swiss resident charged in 2001 rare car theft in Milwaukee, fraudulent sale in 2015

More: Rare $7 million car taken in 2001 heist is back from Europe but parked by a court fight

More: State Supreme Court weighs in on who should get $7 million car stolen from Milwaukee garage in 2001

The fascinating tale of the 1938 Talbot Lago T150C SS teardrop coupe first came to light in the Journal Sentinel as a civil case in 2018. After the Supreme Court declined the buyer’s appeal to dismiss it, the case moved forward with discovery.

That process released a flood of old documents and led to dozens of depositions in Europe and around the United States of people involved with the theft, export, restoration, sale and investigations of the car and its parts.

Former U.S. Magistrate Judge David E. Jones started mediating the case last fall, which led to an announced settlement. Nothing has been revealed about who might ultimately get the coveted auto, which has been held under an injunction at a Massachusetts shop since 2016.

At a hearing Wednesday, lawyers hinted they may no longer be in agreement, depending on what details Jones proposes in a final agreement that he has yet to produce.

The car — one of only 16 ever made — had been in …….

Source: https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/crime/2022/02/23/milwaukee-man-linked-2001-heist-rare-talbot-lago-sports-car-under-arrest-switzerland/6787097001/

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