Inside the Twisted, Worldwide Hunt for a $7 Million Stolen Car
Joe Ford is sitting at the Pelican Landing, an outdoor restaurant in a fancy marina on the Intracoastal Waterway. Across the way is a 180-foot yacht, the name abbracci painted across the stern.
Joe’s cell phone rings. Wah-wah-waaahhh.
The theme music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Joe’s ringtone.
“Hold on,” he says. “It’s the FBI.”
It’s midday, and Joe has just finished his first Corona. He’s self-employed. The Pelican Landing is off the main channel in Fort Lauderdale, part of the Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina, a twenty-two-acre, four-star resort where deckhands refuel yachts before they sail out to sea. When you’re sitting at the bar, the boats look like shimmering skyscrapers. Crew members scrub down decks; owners sip cocktails and shout into smartphones.
It’s a place Joe goes.
He hangs up his call. “The FBI says this is the most fun case they’ve ever worked—and I’m going to help them solve it,” he says.
He looks around, nods at the Abbracci, once owned by a Texas businessman who recently sold off seventy-eight rare automobiles for a total of $53 million. “If you can afford that, then you can afford a million-dollar car,” he says, by way of explaining that lunching at this high-end grill is an essential part of his work. His order of ceviche and plantains arrives, and Joe orders another Corona.