Police still searching for “Wild Cherry” van

Police found Chris Carter three weeks ago. They just can’t find the infamous “Wild Cherry” van that got him arrested.

Carter, 39, of Collinsville, Illinois, became a celebrity in the vanning community for resurrecting the red 1975 Chevrolet custom van that appeared in the 1979 movie Van Nuys Blvd. He received even more attention when he was arrested October 3 on felony theft charges, accused of stealing the then-dilapidated van from a California couple last year.

According to the Belleville News-Democrat, police have not located the 1975 Chevrolet custom van, which has since been fully restored.

Carter was arrested when he showed up at Madison County Courthouse for a divorce hearing. An Illinois judge set Carter’s bond at $25,000 on October 5, but revoked it the same day. The Democrat reported that detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department plan to travel to the Madison County Jail and return Carter to California by the end of the month.

Wild Cherry Van found in mountains
Wild Cherry Van / Facebook

Carter says he located the then-dilapidated Wild Cherry van in a desolate area near Lancaster, where he and a friend loaded it onto a trailer and took it back to Illinois. Carter claims that neighboring property owners told him the van had been “abandoned.” One man, he says, opened a locked gate so that he could reach the vehicle.

Property owner Laura Godin says Carter did not have permission to take the van, and on June 25 she reported it stolen.

Among the last people to see the van were those who took part in the “Wild Cherry Van Run” in mid-September. The event, which Carter organized, ended on Van Nuys Boulevard in Los Angeles, where the movie was filmed.

Carter still has his supporters. In fact, the Democrat reported that someone recently started a GoFundMe page to help pay Carter’s legal fees—ironic considering that Carter’s detractors were already enraged that he used donations from a GoFundMe account to defray the expense of restoring Wild Cherry. A GoFundMe spokesperson told the Democrat that the campaign “does not violate terms of service and remains active.”

Law enforcement also remains active. And the Wild Cherry saga continues.

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