INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Harry Donovan can only shake his head and think about what was and what might have been when he stares at what’s left of one of his prized possessions.
The 94-year-old veteran gave a classic Ford Mustang to his wife Marie in 1969. She drove it until she passed away in the year 2000. Harry decided to have it restored in her memory in 2009.
"I got the idea of restoring the car kind of as a memento with her," said Donovan.
Harry paid $1,500 to a man named Dennis Lee to do the job. He’s got a pile of receipts and emails that tell the story of what happened next. He gave Lee almost $6,000, but still no sign of the restored Mustang.
"Over a period of time, a couple three years, we paid him more money," said Donovan.
Harry still remembers the day in June of 2014 when he opened up the newspaper and saw Dennis Lee’s mug shot. He had been arrested on theft and drug charges. Harry’s family eventually tracked the lost Mustang down to Lee’s girlfriend’s house. When he got it back, it was ruined…with no engine, no radiator and no front end.
"I gave him a car that's running, I gave him thousands of dollars, in the meantime and I get back a car with less than I sent out."
Harry’s family hopes his story can still have a happy ending. But without more money to fix the ruined Mustang, they can’t say what will happen to a car that means so much to this elderly Indiana veteran.
"I would like to have the car restored in honor of my wife," said Donovan.
Anyone who is willing to help Donovan can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.