Dream Cruiser gets call from county executive

A Pennsylvania man who brought his classic 1959 Cadillac to the Dream Cruise, only to have it stolen before the event began Saturday morning, should have a better memory of Oakland County on his next visit.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson on Monday called car owner Ron Rodriguez and apologized to him personally on behalf of Oakland County after learning the Rodriguez's prized Caddy had been stolen early Saturday from the parking lot of a Wixom hotel.

Patterson offered him $1,000 to help cover any damage to the car. The money will come from Boost Oakland Business, a private fund used to help economic development efforts in the county. No taxpayer money was used.

"I saw the guy on TV and he was in tears," Patterson said. "This was a car he had worked on for 20 years and the theft was something that happened in my county. He was here as a guest. I wanted him to have a better memory of us than he otherwise would have had."

Rodriguez, a retired businessman from Scottdale, Penn., was thrilled with both the apology and the $1,000 offer.

"He was elated," said Ruth Bedard, who is hosting Rodriguez and his wife in their Livingston County home. "He couldn't believe it. He was just tickled pink. His wife said, 'I love Michigan!'"

The car, which Rodriguez valued at $100,000, was towed to the hotel after it had broken down earlier Friday. Thieves ultimately stole Rodriguez's truck, a trailer that was used to transport the Cadillac and the classic car early Saturday. It was recovered Sunday in Detroit by police.

"It was the least I could do," Patterson said. "I invited him back for next year's Dream Cruise and he said he's coming."

Published: Wed, Aug 24, 2011