James Bond's stolen Aston Martin DB5 spotted in the Middle East

$25 million car was stolen in daring raid in Florida in 1997

Movie fans might have been left shaken and possibly stirred after the stolen Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger was spotted in the Middle East.

The classic car, driven by Sean Connery in the 1964 film, was taken in a heist in Florida almost a quarter of a century ago and is estimated to be worth almost $25 million.

Investigators have been unable to say exactly where the car was spotted, but several Gulf nations are said to be particular areas of interest.

It was in a private setting that the car was spotted
Christopher Marinello, Art Recovery International

“There are major automobile collectors in those countries and I have intelligence that the car could be in one of them and may have even travelled between them,” Christopher Marinello, chief executive of Art Recovery International, told the UK’s Daily Telegraph.

“I’m hopeful that the possessor will come forward voluntarily before I have to make an announcement. It’s my policy to give possessors of stolen and looted objects every opportunity to do the right thing.

“I don’t believe the current possessor knew the car was stolen when he or she acquired it. Now they do know, I think they should make every effort to have a discreet confidential discussion about how we clear the title to this iconic vehicle.”

Stolen goods

(Original Caption) ca. 1966: Waist-up portrait of Sean Connery, as James Bond, leaning against a bar and looking out across the room. Connery is wearing a white tuxedo and bow tie with a red carnation in his lapel. CONNERY; SEAN BOND; JAMES. 99/99/1966 35 U CT4X5

The car disappeared from an aircraft hangar owned by car collector and businessman Anthony Pugliese at Boca Raton Airport in Florida in June 1997.

The vehicle was said to be lifted out by its axles before being carried away in a cargo plane, a heist that no doubt shocked the living daylights out of the facility’s security team.

Mystery has surrounded the whereabouts of the car ever since, until investigators received a tip-off that it had been seen in the Middle East, being used as a private vehicle.

It is believed the serial number matches that of the original car, bought by Mr Pugliese for $275,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in New York in 1997.

He wondered how much enjoyment the car’s current owner would get from it, given its status as one of the world’s most famous stolen vehicles.

“They can only show it off on a very limited basis. It can’t travel outside its current location or be exhibited in a museum, so why not reach out and resolve this?” Mr Marinello said.

“We think they’ve gone quiet and are being cautious and are not exhibiting it. It was in a private setting that the car was spotted.

“That’s the risk you take – you can’t publicly show it off because you never know who is going to come forward.”

He said he was confident the car would be tracked down sooner rather than later.

“I am getting incredible support from investigators, law enforcement and diplomats all over the world who remember the film and love the car and want to help,” he said.

“We’re getting closer and closer. I’m waiting for my phone to ring.”

The saga of the missing car will be included in a podcast series hosted by actress Elizabeth Hurley, entitled The Most Famous Car In The World.

Updated: August 22nd 2021, 4:23 AM