LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Two men have been arrested in connection with the September theft of a vintage 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL convertible owned by actor John Travolta, according to Santa Monica police.
Authorities said Michael Green, 58, was arrested Dec. 6 and D.L. Rayford Jr., 52, was taken into custody on Dec. 19, according to Santa Monica Police Sgt. Richard Lewis.
Travolta’s 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL was stolen after he parked it on the street in a residential area and went to a nearby Jaguar dealership on Sept. 18, Lewis said.
“Detectives obtained video footage of the vehicle and the suspects as the vehicle was being stolen,” Lewis said. “In addition, detectives received several valuable tips from the public after the initial information was released to the public through the media. Through the collaborative efforts of investigators … two individuals were identified as suspects relating to the theft of Mr. Travolta’s Mercedes, and were arrested by investigators from the task force.”
Green is charged with two counts of grand theft auto — involving Travolta’s vehicle and another Mercedes-Benz — and is set to appear Feb. 8 at the Airport Branch Courthouse. He also is facing a probation violation hearing in a petty theft with
a prior case in which a 20-year prison term had been suspended, according to Jane Robison of the District Attorney’s Office.
Rayford pleaded no contest to one count of grand theft auto and was sentenced Jan. 5 to 16 months in state prison, Robison said.
Authorities believe that Rayford drove Green’s car after Green allegedly stole Travolta’s Mercedes.
The men allegedly were involved in a sophisticated auto-theft ring that targeted older-model Mercedes and muscle cars. Detectives shut down the ring and recovered parts of Travolta’s Mercedes and seven other stolen vehicles.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call Santa Monica police Detective Steve Smetzer, (310) 458-8936; or Detective George Molina of the Task Force for Regional Auto Theft Prevention, (818) 830-6977. Tipsters also may call WeTip at (800) 78-CRIME.