Portland's Andrew Smith vows to pay $5000 after his distinctive Monaro recovered

PARTING with $5000 will not be hard for Portland’s Andrew Smith, who offered it as a reward for the return of his distinctive red 1975 Holden Monaro.

"I haven't got it back yet but I know where it is and it's safe. The police are holding it for forensics but hopefully that's only for a few days," the South Coast Raceway president said.

"After posting the $5000 reward on Facebook at the weekend we got two different phone calls from people who claimed to know where it was.

"One was incorrect but the other one was on the money. The reward generated a lot of interest. It's the best $5000 I've ever spent. I am going to pay and it's going to someone in Portland."

Mr Smith said he went to the south Portland home which he is renovating on Thursday last week.

"I leaned over the gate to grab the padlock, it wasn't there and I knew straight away offenders had been there and what they would be after," the 35-year-old said.

"I bought the car off Dad 16 years ago after be bought and restored it. It would have cost $60,000 to $70,000 to replace but to me it's priceless. 

"I got it when I was still on P plates. I'm a rev head and everyone said I would wreck it, but it hasn't got a mark on it after 16 years."

Mr Smith said family and friends became aware of the theft after he reported it stolen to police.

"I didn't do my initial Facebook post until about eight hours after I went to police and friends and family had started posting straight away. I was having a can and a sook when I did my post," he said.

"Within 24 hours there were 17,000 shares and sighting all over the district. The offenders had been driving it  - it's had a pretty hard time and suffered damage to the boot lock, fuel cap and the steering lock. It's not too bad."

Mr Smith said offenders had used an angle grinder to try and gain access to his car and removed tin to got into his shed.

"Things are never safe. We had an enormous amount of interest, it's amazing how far and w​ide it all went on social media," he said.

"I had messages from New Zealand and Fiji and there were that many messages my phone is still not working properly. I just wanted to thank everyone, especially the police and the main thing is I've got my car back," he said.

Police recovered the red Monaro on Monday after raiding an Arkell Court address and two men have been charged with offences.

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