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A Year Later, Missouri Police Recover Some Rare Stolen WWI-era Engine Parts

The engine components were part of a decades-long project to rebuild these engines

Missouri Police Recover Some Rare Stolen WWI-era Engine Parts
Photo courtesy of Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department

Police in Missouri have recovered at least some of a truckload of World War I-era aircraft engines and associated parts stolen from a hotel parking lot in June 2021. The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department announced the find this week. Many questions remain.

The owner of the truck and parts, Robert Visser of Austin, Texas, stated he had been collecting parts to complete the ultra-rare Wright-Martin aircraft engines for 35 years and that he did not believe the thieves had any idea what they were stealing. Visser was enroute to Minnesota from Texas when he stopped overnight at a hotel in Kansas City Missouri, and his truck and its contents were stolen overnight.

Police had checked with scrapyards and “online sales platforms,” and kept the investigation open for the past year. While they declined to state how or exactly where the engines were found, the department posted photos of heavy equipment being used to uncover the engines and “pull the parts out of the woods,” as the post put it.

Finally, the department stated, “Visser is excited that some parts were recovered,” but that more parts are still missing, and detectives plan to keep the investigation open. No word was given about the perpetrators or the whereabouts of Visser’s stolen pickup truck.


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