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Detroit, MI – Among the highly-anticipated offerings to be unveiled at January’s NAIAS show, one of the stand-outs was undoubtedly Ford’s reveal of the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500. Live auto news venues flooded newsfeeds with live-streaming reports on the GT500, considered to be Ford’s most powerful muscle car ever. And while actual horsepower ratings have yet to be confirmed, Ford reps seemed to enjoy teasing a 700+hp output courtesy of the 5.2-liter V8 that they had stuffed under the hood. All in all, the reveal surpassed almost every expectation, feeding the unquestionable anticipation which had kept automotive pundits running wild with speculation in recent months. What they could have never anticipated though, was the theft of the vehicle, from the showroom floor.

Thursday, January 17th marked ‘Day Four’ of the tentpole trade show which featured the quick-shifting GT500. But when the lights came up for the day, there was an empty dais upon which the car had been so prominently displayed for the last 72 hours. With Ford execs enraged, and Cobo Center Security working hand-in-hand with Detroit Law Enforcement to identify the parties responsible and recover the vehicle, the most important clue might have gone largely ignored if it hadn’t been for twenty-year security veteran, Tim Fleischman.

Fleischman, who had begun working at the Cobo Center in late 1998, oversees the security archival division responsible for reviewing security footage, serving as a second set of eyes. “After twenty years, I have made my way through well over 60,000 hours of closed-circuit footage, multiplied by over fifty monitoring systems found in each of our dozens of exhibition halls,“ explains Fleischman with a clear sense of pride. “I’ve seen a lot of trade-shows over the years, from pretty much every industry you can imagine. But the North American International Auto Show is definitely my favorite!”

A self-described autophile, Fleischmann enjoys the unique perspective that his position grants him. “Everyone’s down there, rushing around, pushing past each other trying to get a closer look at some of the most exciting vehicles on the planet…and I can just sit up here, without anyone bothering me, checking them out for as long as I’d like. Plus, I like people watching — and we even get our fair share of celebrities!”

And it’s one celebrity, in particular, who issuing keyed in as one of the primary suspects in the theft of the Shelby GT500. That celebrity is none other than former Hollywood A-lister (and current direct-to-DVD release icon) Nicholas Cage.

According to Detective Roland Castlebeck, “It’s a widely-known fact within the law enforcement community that Nicholas Cage is a master criminal. Using a series of aliases, such as ‘Memphis Raines’ to ‘Benjamin Franklin Gates’, he has stolen everything from strings of iconic automobiles to the actual Declaration of Independence. And it was during his run as a master car thief that we caught wind of Cage’s obsession with the 1967 version of the Shelby GT500, which he referred to endearingly as ‘Eleanor’”

And while it’s widely believed that Detective Roland Castlebeck might actually be an alias, employed by beloved character actor Delroy Lindo in an attempt to help his ‘Gone in Sixty Seconds’ castmate, police are exploring the possibility that Cage could be the actual culprit.

“On one hand,” explains the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners in a public statement, “this could be a publicity stunt, intended to reignite Mr. Cage’s flaccid film career. On the other hand, he did steal the Declaration of Independence. So, anything is possible…

But how could Nicholas Cage have removed the vehicle from such a secure showroom floor? Tim Fleischman believes the answer is hidden in a 2010 Disney Film.

“Have you seen ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?”, he asks before leaning in secretively. “Nicholas Cage knows magic.”


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