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When love takes a wrong turn



Published: Mon, September 9, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The car had turbo anda stereo that couldblow open the trunk.

By STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

NILES -- Glenn and Matilda Binion were young, in love with each other, and with a car.

Glenn bought the gleaming white 1988 Cadillac DeVille from an ex-Steelers player when the couple were both still in high school, before they got hitched.

Black rag top. V-8 turbo-charged engine. And, once Glenn got his hands on it, a 2,800-amp stereo system that could shatter the windows and blow open the trunk.

"We put all our money into it," said Matilda, 19, in the three-cat apartment the couple share. "We don't have any kids, so it was like our kid."

How do you lavish attention on aging Detroit iron? With dark tinted windows, $2,800 wheels, new leather on the rear seats, new carpeting on the doors for color contrast, custom lights, a graduation present paint job, and $2,500 worth of stereo equipment.

Car-show contender

Angel -- as Glenn called the car, but only to himself -- has mugged at three or four car shows a year since Glenn got it. Sometimes, the car would win.

And Glenn says he had plans for more: television screens front and back, a Sony Playstation console in the glove compartment, and newer, bigger wheels.

The couple had been contemplating moving to Florida, for the car. There are more and better car shows there, and no snow, they said.

"That was the car I planned to keep for my whole life," said Glenn, 18, who favors big jeans and sports jerseys.

And now it's gone.

Last Thursday, Glenn left his job working day shift at the MCI call center on Youngstown-Warren Road for lunch, and found broken glass where his car had been parked. He suspected it was a gag and called Matilda, who works at MCI night shift. It wasn't.

"It was like losing my best friend," Glenn said. "That car was me."

Not much help

Police were little help. If the car didn't turn up in three days, chances are it never would, they said.

To make matters worse, nearly all the photos of the car, and nearly all the trophies from shows, were in the back seat in preparation for an upcoming show.

Glenn said he managed to hold his tears until after he got out of work. A friend at Niles McKinley High School said he saw the car cruising north past the school at 10 a.m. the day it was stolen. So Glen says he spent the rest of that day, and just about every day since, driving through the worst neighborhoods in Youngstown and Warren, looking for his lost love.

The car, which Glenn bought for $2,700 and had eaten up an additional $7,000 in gizmos and extras, had been insured against everything. But just last month, bills got tight, so Glenn and Matilda dropped the coverage down to state minimum.

Now, he doesn't know what he can hope for from the insurance company.

If you see a tricked out white Cadillac with dark tinted windows, a rear window sticker reading "Keepin' it Real"-- the car club Glenn started at Mineral Ridge High School -- and a stereo announcing its arrival from a quarter-mile away, think of Glenn.

In the meantime, Glenn says he is thinking about another car. He says he plans to have the missing DeVille's keys plated in gold, for a necklace.




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