Reports say Mercedes was taken from California Mansion by a thief


The bizarre tale of a car found buried on the grounds a Northern California mansion worth $15 million has become even stranger.

Last week, the vehicle was found by landscapers. Police have now identified the vehicle as a Mercedes convertible, reported stolen in 1992. Local reports indicate that the owner of the estate was a deceased man with a history in arrests.

On Saturday, investigators found the car, which was buried at about 5 feet in the Silicon Valley enclave, Atherton. Police said that the car was found two days earlier and had been filled with cement bags.

In and out came cadaver dogs. “made a slight notification of possible human remains,”Atherton Police Cmdr. Daniel Larsen. 

Larsen stated that dogs could have react to old bones or blood, vomit, and/or a combination of both. He said there had not been an initial discovery of human remains.

The home was built by John Bocktune Lew, a man with a history of arrests for murder, attempted murder and insurance fraud, his daughter, Jacq Searle, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Lew, who was 77 years old, died in 2015. 

“You know I’ve seen how many strange cases over the 45 years I’ve been in the business, this one’s in the very upper echelon,”Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo County District attorney, said KNTVSunday

“It may be a fraud case, maybe foul play.  Wagstaffe stated that it could have been an eccentric who thought it would fun to bury their car in the ground.

Lew was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1965 shooting death of a young woman with whom he had been having an affair, according to court records. According to court records, the 1968 Los Angeles conviction was overturned based on hearsay evidence, which was wrongly admitted in trial.

Local reports state that Lew was convicted for attempted murder in 1977 and sentenced to three years imprisonment. Multiple news agencies reported that he was convicted in 2000 of insurance fraud and false claims after offering $50,000 to cover officers to sink his yacht worth $1.5 million near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Police said that the car was not discovered by the current owners.

The estate has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and was sold to its current owners for $15 million in March of 2020, according to a real estate listing. The mansion is 12,634 square feet in size and sits on 1.63 acres.


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