A Ringgold man is asking for the public’s help in locating his classic car that was stolen from his home last fall.
For life-long Catoosa County resident Dewayne Madaris, his 1969 Pontiac Firebird is more than just a missing vehicle — it was his first car and a huge part of his life.
“It was my first car bought in 1980,” Madaris said. “I had a lot of firsts in that car — my first drive to high school and to my first job at the Ringgold McDonald’s — my first date. I even got pulled over by the old JD Stewart Trans Am once.”
According to Madaris and the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department, the vehicle was stolen from his Saunders Road home sometime between Aug. 2 and 6.
Madaris says he arrived at the home on Aug. 7 and realized someone had broken into his garage.
Later that month, two suspects, one male and one female, were arrested in connection with the theft, but the vehicle was not recovered.
According to Capt. Chris Lyons, the investigation led detectives to issue a search warrant for the home of the male suspect. Subsequently, both subjects were arrested and charged with theft by receiving stolen property and possession of Schedule II drugs.
Although detectives charged the duo with receiving the car at a point in time, they could not charge them with the actual burglary into Madaris’ home.
“We obtained evidence that the two suspects had possession of the vehicle, but we did not have proof that they actually stole the vehicle from the residence,” Capt. Lyons said.
As for Madaris, he said he continues to check in with detectives about the status of the case, but also admitted that he realizes the vehicle may be long gone.
“My neighbors saw what they call a ‘snatch truck’ at my house around the time of the theft,” Madaris said. “So, it was put on that wrecker and taken from my house.”
The vehicle is described as a light green 1969 Pontiac Firebird with Georgia tag number BSF9949.
Anyone with information about the burglary or the whereabouts of the vehicle is encouraged to contact the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department at 706-935-2424.
According to Madaris, recovery of the vehicle is more about personal significance than the monetary value of the car.
“That car was a dream come true,” Madaris said. “That old car was a local car – it was purchased from the original owner across from Carlock’s Grocery and driven in many Ringgold parades over the years. Everyone just knows that car. It’s part of my family.”