BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The United States Attorney’s Office is looking for the rightful owner of a 1996 Ferrari F50 they believe was stolen nearly 20 years ago.

Customs and Border Protection officers determined the Italian sports car was stolen during an inspection at the Peace Bridge on December 14, 2019. The car was being transported from Canada into the U.S.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says CBP officers noticed a few of the rivets on the VIN plate were covered with a black tar substance. The vehicle was placed on a “hold” while an investigation into the ownership of the Ferrari was conducted.

CBP determined the vehicle was stolen in 2003 in Italy. The agency says the government has filed a civil action to determine who can take ownership of the vehicle, which is valued at an estimated $1.9 million.

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. said, “After investigation, my Office determined that it would not be appropriate for us to exercise our authority and forfeit this extremely valuable and previously stolen luxury car. Instead, after an 18-year odyssey, which we know took it across continents and countries, we have decided that the time has come for a court of law to determine the rightful owner of the vehicle.”

Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.