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Stolen Triumph returning to owner after 46 years

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A 73-year-old biker in Omaha received surprising news from law enforcement in California recently – his 1953 Triumph Tiger 100 had been flagged at the Port of Los Angeles as it was about to be shipped to Japan. The bike still had its original VIN number on the frame and when U.S. Customs and Border Protection ran the digits they were surprised to see it had been reported missing in February 1967.

The biker, Donald DeVault, fondly thought of his Triumph over the past 46 years and chatted it up when he saw fellow riders as the bike had a couple unusual features – it was a hardtail which was unusual for that era for Triumph and its unique blue color with the words "Li'l Blue Bitch" airbrushed alongside the tank.

DeVault can only begin to guess at the adventures his bike has had over the almost half-century its been missing and he is delighted to be welcoming the ride back to add to his Kawasaki and Harley-Davidson that are sitting in his garage.

He fully intends to ride the Triumph but only on special occasions as he wants to keep it safely guarded now. "I really want to protect it this time," DeVault said. "I'm sure there's people out there that would want to take it away." When DeVault last had the bike in his possession, it was valued at a mere $300; the shipping documents that were with the bike in L.A. listed its value today at $9,000.

In the late 1960’s a number of people were still enthralled with the Marlon Brando classic film “The Wild One” and it felt to DeVault as though everyone fancied themselves a rider. He was already riding when the film came out so it wasn’t so much a novelty to him – he was simply taken by the saucy name of “Li’l Blue Bitch” on the bike.

A friend of DeVault’s owns a trucking company and arrangements are being made to have the bike shipped from L.A. to Omaha. The first course of action is to have the name airbrushed back onto the bike along with “46 Years Later”.

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