Small towns have a reputation for being places where everyone knows everyone else, and the residents of Marshalltown, Iowa also have a knack for knowing who owns what car in the city, too.

That proved useful early this month when a local man was arrested for the theft of a 1966 Ford GT40 replica, which he had spray-painted black thinking no one would match it to the recently stolen yellow GT40 in town.

Not so fast, said the police, who arrested one Patrick Allen Chamberlin after residents recognized the car, whose original bright yellow paintwork was still visible through the black paint, and reported it to the police.

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Marshalltown’s police chief told a reporter they may not have found the car, which belongs to a local government employee, without the public’s sharp eyes and, in all honesty, ears; classic sports cars like the original Ford GT are rarely quiet.

Like so many common criminals, Chamberlin is obviously not too bright: when the cops caught up with him for the theft and a number of traffic offenses, they also found a “controlled substance” and drug paraphernalia on his person.

The lesson here – to other thieves at least – is that if you’re going to be out and about with illicit substances, don’t do it while breaking traffic laws in the most conspicuous car in town.

(via KCCI Des Moines)