NORFOLK, Va.— A surprise turned sour for a woman working to restore her father’s vintage pickup truck.
Erica Murphy spent $8,500 to fix up her father’s vintage truck, and she was worried there would be a chance he’ll never get to see it.
“She’s one of the family. We’ve even named it: She’s the 'Green Beast,' hence why she’s so bright green,” said Murphy.
Not many people think of a vehicle like a family member, but it isn’t just any old truck.
The vintage 1974 Ford F-100 automatic was passed down from one Navy veteran to another.
William Jefferson gave it to his son, William MichaJefferson Jr., who is Murphy’s father.
“[My grandfather] of course bought the truck brand new and then, of course, passed it down to my dad, and my dad‘s had it ever since. It was our hope to keep it in the family — keep her going. She was basically an heirloom.”
Murphy spent the past two and a half months restoring the Green Beast to its former glory as a belated Christmas gift for her dad, complete with brand new tires, rims and a shiny coat of candy apple green paint.
“We thought that, 'What better gift to give him than her being restored?'"
Murphy said the car was parked in the lot behind Allstate on E. Little Creek Road so she could take it next door to Young’s Upholstery next door for a new interior.
“It was all supposed to be a surprise, and the worst part is having to call him and tell him not only are you not getting your truck back beautiful and put back together the way she should be, but she’s gone.”
Murphy believes it was stolen Wednesday around 8 p.m.
“I pray to God that nobody would paint her or chop her up or ship her out of here… this is not just some average, anyday truck; this is a family member. She’s been with us since she was born.”
The truck is a priceless piece of their family. Murphy said the Green Beast is, ”One of the last things that [her dad] had to hold onto his father with.”
Murphy pleaded for mercy and hoped the thief would have a change of heart and would do the right thing.
“I beg you to just please, please, please bring her back. Bring her back right here the same way you took her in the middle of the night. I don’t care - just don’t hurt her. No questions asked. I don’t even want to press charges. Just please, please bring her back," Murphy told us earlier Monday.
Later Monday night, Murphy said her father's truck has been found.
She says she got a tip shortly after News 3 aired this story. Murphy said one of the people who returned the truck said they were with someone who took it, watched the story and said they had to return it.
"It was a man and a woman. She was the one who said that after seeing the newscast, that she felt compelled to actually bring the truck back. She didn’t know how sentimental the truck was and it made her feel bad," explained Murphy.
Murphy said wanted the beast back, no questions asked, and she stuck to her word.
"I don’t have any intentions of prosecuting. I just hope that people would really stop doing these things to people," she said.
The good news is the truck was found. The bad news is , someone spray painted it black and it wasn't driveable.
Jefferson said his faith never wavered that his truck would be found.
The damages may be costly, but getting the Green Beast back is priceless.
"I am elated that it’s back and I want to thank everybody for making that happen, including channel 3 news and all my friends and family that reposted [the story] on Facebook," said Jefferson.