Quentin Tarantino's stolen Malibu from 'Pulp Fiction' found 19 years later
Zed may be dead but Oscar-winning director Quentin Tarantino's cherry red Chevelle Malibu has resurfaced after nearly two decades, all thanks to a vigilant San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputy in Victorville, Calif., officials said.
"Deputy (Carlos) Arrieta did a really good job with this case," said Sgt. Albert Anolin with the Victorville sheriff's station Friday. "He took what many would've seen as a minor case and followed it through until it broke this much larger case."
Tarantino's 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu, stolen in 1994 during the production of "Pulp Fiction," was recovered in the Oakland, Calif., area earlier this week, according to law enforcement officials investigating the case.
The iconic Malibu was driven in the film by John Travolta's character, Vince Vega.
On April 18, Arrieta spotted two men near Mojave Vista Elementary School at Seventh and Burwood avenues around 7:45 p.m., Anolin said.
It appeared the men were stripping an older Chevrolet Malibu, so Arrieta approached the unidentified men. Arrieta ran the vehicle identification number for the 1964 Malibu and learned it was registered to a Malibu in the Oakland area, according to reports.
One of the men insisted the Malibu was his and had been his since the 1970s.
Arrieta continued to investigate the incident and called in the San Bernardino County Auto Theft Task Force and handed over the investigation to Senior Investigator with the District Attorney's Office Carlos Flores and California Highway Patrol officer Brian Leyva.
According to sheriff's reports, investigators learned the VIN number for the Chevrolet found in Victorville legitimately belonged to that car, but hadn't been registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles for several decades.
Detectives contacted authorities in the San Francisco Bay Area to alert them to the VIN match for a 1964 Chevrolet Malibu in their area.
Bay Area investigators contacted the owner of that Malibu and learned that vehicle had a cloned VIN number on it. Further investigation revealed the Malibu found in the Bay Area was in fact Tarantino's vehicle stolen in 1994, officials said.
The man who was in possession of Tarantino's stolen Malibu is not believed to be involved in the theft and is considered to be a victim of a fraud.
The vehicle was recovered only a few weeks after his 50th birthday on March 27. It's not clear if the vehicle has been returned to the film director as of Friday.
The man Arrieta initially contacted last week was arrested on suspicion of an unrelated crime, sheriff's officials said, though his name has not been released due to an ongoing investigation.
"Arrieta used the resources available to him and was able to help crack this case," Anolin said of the deputy who's been at the Victorville station for only about two years. "He's a good deputy. "
The case is still under investigation.