Car buried in Silicon Valley in 90s may have been planted there for insurance fraud, police say

A Mercedes Benz found buried in the backyard of a home in an affluent San Francisco-area community may have been placed there for insurance fraud, Atherton police said Thursday.

The 1991 500 SL car was found buried under 4 to 5 feet of dirt while landscapers were carrying out a project at the house on October 20.

There were bags of unused cement in the vehicle, and cadaver dogs that made what police said was a “light notification of possible human remains” fueling speculation about who buried the car and why.

Law enforcement is investigating a car found buried in a backyard in the San Francisco area, October 21, 2022.KNTV

No remains were ever found, including after ground-penetrating radar was used and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office forensic lab processed the car, police said.

“Detectives are still investigating this incident and it is believed the vehicle may have been buried for insurance fraud purposes, Atherton Police Chief Steven D. McCulley said Thursday. statement.

The vehicle had been reported stolen to the Palo Alto Police Department in 1992, an insurance claim was made and the vehicle was registered in the name of the man who once owned the property where the vehicle would be found buried three decades later. late, police said.

That owner, John Lew, has since died and the property has since changed hands, police said.

Lew was convicted in 2000 for insurance fraud after paying undercover agents $50,000 in cash and jewelry to sink his 56ft yacht – worth $1.2million, NBC Bay Area reported. He had also been convicted of attempted murder in the 1970s and had served three years in prison, the station reported.

Atherton, a town of about 7,100, is adjacent to Menlo Park, headquarters of Facebook’s parent company Meta, and less than 10 miles from Mountain View, where Google’s headquarters are located.

It has been classified as the country most expensive zip code for a fifth consecutive year last November, according to real estate information company PropertyShark. It had a median sale price of $7.5 million.

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