Revisiting a Frozen Case: Harley-Davidson Theft Resolved After 42 Years

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Outbound Enforcement Team officers, working at the Los Angeles/Long Beach (LA/LB) seaport, collaborated with California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigators and a National Insurance Crime Bureau special agent to intercept a stolen ’54 Harley-Davidson Hydra-Glide bound for Australia. The CBP seized the motorcycle at the port and handed it over to CHP for further investigation and eventual return to its rightful owner.

The motorcycle, adorned with a 50th-anniversary badge on its front fender, was originally green when it was stolen on March 4, 1972. Now painted yellow, the classic bike was found in excellent condition, seemingly restored by one of its four previous owners after the theft. It was snatched from the backyard of police officer Edgar Johnson Sr., a resident of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, who passed away on October 7, 2010. However, his eldest son, Edgar Howard Johnson Jr., was located and expressed immense excitement about the bike's return.

Johnson Jr. shared, "My Dad would be overjoyed to have it back if he were still with us. This is incredible, truly amazing, and so heartwarming. I recall my Dad picking me up from school with it once. When the other kids asked if I'd ride on it, I proudly said yes. I miss my Dad dearly; we used to chat every week. He lives on in my heart, and this feels like a part of him returning home."