MANTECA, Calif. -- Three missing vintage Tillamook Cheese VW buses have been found by police in a self-storage facility in the central California town of Copperopolis, according to Charity Maness of the Copper Gazette.
The immaculately restored micro-buses with custom colors and branding had been stolen in Manteca over the weekend while on a tour promoting cheese in Sacramento, said company spokeswoman Tori Harms.
A truck and trailer used to haul them were found burning, but without the buses, about 50 miles from where they were last seen. The distinctive buses all have been shortened to more resemble a cheese loaf. They are 1959, 1964 and 1966 models.
The three buses were found about 8:30 p.m. Monday night by an auto theft task force serving a search warrant at B Secured Self Storage in the community about 50 miles east of Manteca, Maness told KGW.
Police opened a storage unit and found the vans along with other items belonging to the cheese maker.
Manteca police chief Nick Obligacion led the investigation, Maness said. There are suspects, the chief said. If they cannot be found quickly, wanted information will be released.
Obligacion said the buses appear to have been undamaged.
The task force included the Manteca, Stockton and Lodi police agencies, the California Highway Patrol, the San Joaquin sheriff's office, the Manteca District Attorney and the Manteca probation department, he said.
The chief put the value of the three buses at $300,000 but the company declined to state a value.
A 23-window 1963 VW bus was purchased for $217,800 at a 2011 Barrett-Jackson auction.