Belfast Telegraph

Man must pay for Travolta car theft

A man who stole John Travolta's vintage 1970 Mercedes-Benz convertible is serving a jail term and been ordered to pay the actor 50,000 US dollars in restitution, court records show.

D L Rayford Jr was sentenced to serve 16 months in jail after pleading no contest to grand theft auto on January 5, nearly three weeks before authorities announced his arrest. Rayford and Michael T Green were arrested last month on suspicion of taking the car and each was charged with grand theft auto.

Travolta parked the convertible on a residential street in Santa Monica, California, for about 10 minutes in September when it was stolen. The Oscar-nominated actor had the car keys with him while he stopped in at a nearby Jaguar dealership and returned to find the car missing.

Santa Monica Police Sgt Richard Lewis said Travolta's car had been dismantled by the time it was recovered. Among the pieces recovered by authorities were seats, the speedometer, hubcaps and other assorted parts from the vehicle.

Lewis said authorities waited to announce the arrests because their investigation into Rayford and Green had been ongoing. He said Santa Monica Police were able to clear eight stolen car cases after their arrests.

Police recovered the pieces after arresting Rayford and Green, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of grand theft auto. Robert Conley, a public defender representing him, said he could not comment on the case.

An email message sent to Travolta's publicist Samantha Mast was not immediately returned.

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