UPDATE, Saturday, Sept. 10, 8:41 p.m.: Willie Gonzales’ daughter Amanda Salisbury reported to Oil City News that the Chevelle has been recovered.
CASPER, Wyo. — The reported theft of a beloved muscle car has thrown a wrench in an annual tradition for City of Casper Water Distribution Manager Willie Gonzales.
Gonzales told Oil City he was alerted to the theft of the 1972 Chevelle from his storage unit on Tuesday, Sept. 6, which was also his birthday.
“One of my greatest joys of owning that car was taking my kids to their first days of school through junior high and high school,” Gonzales said. More recently he’s enjoyed taking his grandchildren out for rides. “They just get such a joy out of it.”
Gonzales was alerted by an employee of the storage facility in the Old Yellowstone District early Tuesday morning, the first day of school for most students in Natrona County.
Gonzales said his wife’s car in the adjacent stall was untouched. There were no signs of forced entry; the thief or thieves had picked or otherwise accessed the padlock. The car keys were left inside, as he had been advised to do by management in case of fire or emergency. Gonzales said he had been using the storage unit for about 10 years.
Casper police investigators on the case could not be reached for comment, but Gonzales provided an incident report number that corresponds to a report on call for a vehicle theft in the area.
Gonzales said he’d been on a constant lookout for a muscle car when he found the blue Chevelle at Auto Paradise on East Yellowstone in 1993. Gonzales did not disclose its price, but said the dealership wouldn’t take a check.