A car stolen in the French Champagne region has finally been returned to its owner. However, the victim may not want it back in its current state.
That's because the Peugeot 104 in question has spent the last 38 years, since its theft in 1979, sat at the bottom of a pond in Chalons-en-Champagne, slowly decomposing and crawling with crayfish.
Police were alerted to the presence of the car when drought in the region caused the pond's water level to drop. Police divers were sent in first to ensure there was no corpse in the vehicle, before it was eventually pulled out of its watery grave.
The car is said to be in remarkable condition given its near-four-decade underwater imprisonment. Though muddy, it's clearly recognisable as a Peugeot 104 – a small French hatchback that came before the massively popular Peugeot 205. The bodywork is in good shape and the bumpers still have chrome on it, while the interior is said to be in even better condition. However, it's unlikely to ever run again, and will be scrapped due to the flooded and corroded engine.
The car was four years old when it was stolen in Reims in 1979, and will be reunited with its last known owner by the Chalons-en-Champagne police department. However, as it was declared stolen at the time, it's technically the property of the insurance company that paid out for it.
Local police were pleased to have finally solved the case.