Veteran's family heirloom Jeep stolen from driveway

MARYSVILLE, Wash. -- Imagine having a precious family heirloom stolen from your home without a trace: That’s what the owner of an off-road Jeep called it, a prized family possession.

The truck has been passed down through generations, from one military veteran to another. The family said the off-roader is worth more than anyone else could appreciate.

Sometime in the early morning hours on Thursday crooks managed to steal both a Jeep and the trailer it was sitting on from Clarence Gilbert’s driveway.

“It followed you basically through life and has always been there,” he said, ”and suddenly it’s not there. It’s a bit of a shock.”

Gilbert said his father, Gary, bought the Jeep in 1982, and gave it to him after graduating from basic training in 1991.

“It’s not just a car, that’s the thing, its part of the family,” said Clarence.

For more than 30 years the Gilberts have tricked out, lifted, and climbed mountains together in the Jeep. But now that it’s been stolen, both Gilbert and detectives from the Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force worry it might not be found again in one piece.

“When you have a Jeep that’s locked up on somebody’s property, it’s on a trailer, and it gets stolen, a specialized group of people with a truck and the ability to do that have stolen that jeep,” said Det. Terry Halderman.

Clarence posted pictures of the Jeep on Facebook and the tips have been trickling in.

“My daughter’s school bus driver actually spotted it and called me,” said Clarence, “So it’s promising.”

Gilbert hopes the thieves will do the right thing and save his family’s heirloom from the chop shop.

“I’d say just pull it in a parking lot and drop it,” he said. “It most likely would be the end of it right here.”

The Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force said the Jeep should really stand out: It’s got a tan paint job and a black top, and it has veterans license plates on the front and back.

If you have seen the Jeep, please call 9-1-1.