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More than just an old truck, Gresham man reunited with antique pickup after having it stolen twice

The truck wasn’t damaged this time, but $500 worth of tools were stolen from the back.

GRESHAM, Ore. — The bright orange pickup truck sat outside a Gresham apartment building Sunday morning.

To some, the 1974 Datsun is just a regular old truck, but for owner Jesse Christensen, it’s much more. 

"Had it all my adult life," he said. "It belonged to my dad."

The truck was stolen right out of his driveway at some point during the night. It was the second time it’s been stolen; the first was three years ago. Police eventually found it at a nearby homeless camp after the first theft, but it was severely damaged.

"They tore the hood off of it they painted it all black… it was like having my dad ran over by it," Christensen said. He spent the past three years repairing it. "I just now go everything put back into where I can start it and drive it."

Credit: Amanda Christensen
Antique truck stolen from Gresham, vandalized three years ago at a homeless camp.

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Christensen was taking out the garbage at about 6 a.m. Sunday when he noticed the truck had gone missing again. This time, his daughter Amanda jumped into action to track it down quickly.

"We had to act fast," she said. "I got up, grabbed my laptop and I started looking up how do we report it."

Later in the day on Sunday, Gresham police found the pickup parked outside a nearby hospital. Officers called Christensen to deliver the news.

"He asked me if I had said 'goodbye' to my truck yet," Christensen said. "I said 'yeah, pretty much.' He goes 'Well I’m standing right next to it.'"

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"I had a good cathartic cry when we found it, we both did," Amanda added.

Call it fate or good luck, but the old truck keeps making its way back home.

"You may see a fun little thing to take on a joy ride, but this (truck) is family," she said. "It’s very important to us."

In another stroke of luck, the truck wasn't damaged this time, although about $500 worth of Christensen's tools were stolen from the back. He said he bought a steering wheel lock and plans to install more security measures to make sure it's never stolen again.

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