Luxury Coach Gets Stolen, Recovered and Upgraded

Posted on November 19, 2012

DETROIT, Mich. — On the morning of August 24, 2012, a veteran chauffeur of Detroit-based Satisfaction Limousines, who had just completed a late-night trip on a 35-passenger luxury coach, requested to bring the coach home because he had an early morning pick up the next day and needed to stay within commercial vehicle driving hour guidelines. The scheduled pick up location was only 10 minutes from where the chauffeur lived, so the company’s owners granted him permission.

On the way home, the chauffeur stopped at a 7-Eleven to pick up a few things before calling it a night. While inside the store, the clerk told the chauffeur that his bus was being moved. The chauffeur ran outside after the vehicle but it was too late — the bus was on the street heading toward the interstate. Police were called to the scene but made no arrests.

Later that morning, the Satisfaction Limousine office received word that a Detroit police officer had located the stolen coach in a field near south I-75, just south of Detroit. The suspects ran away from the scene at the officer’s approach and no arrests were made. The vehicle was towed back to Satisfaction’s facility and damages were assessed.

Most electronic equipment had been stolen, including flat screen TVs, radios, DVD players, electronic switch panels and modules, fiber optic lighting materials and cleaning supplies. The body of the vehicle was intact and only damaged in the front engine area, where hoses and lines were cut in an attempt to dismantle as much of the motor as possible. However, the thieves were unable to take anything from the engine compartment.

Robert Hamilton, Jr., vice president and director of special events for Satisfaction Limousines, told LCT that the first step after recovering the vehicle was to make it drivable again.

Satisfaction Limousine's luxury minicoach, Phoenix, that was stolen, recovered, and fitted with an upgraded interior. 
Satisfaction Limousine's luxury minicoach, Phoenix, that was stolen, recovered, and fitted with an upgraded interior. 

“Jim Bolinger of Westwind Coachworks in Dayton, Ohio, originally built and sold this vehicle to us, so it was he who was contacted when repairs and restoration were deemed possible,” Hamilton said. Hamilton is the son of Robert Hamilton, Sr. and Maria Hamilton, founders and owners of Satisfaction Limousines.

“When this incident happened, the industry was preparing for a surge of demand due to high school homecoming season, late Detroit Tigers games and a huge bump in wedding activity,” Hamilton said. “Thankfully, during the downtime we were able to maneuver our vehicle reservation schedule around, but for the reservations we could not accommodate, we decided to purchase a new 2013 luxury coach from Mr. Bolinger to ensure that any clients that had already reserved with us would not be left without a vehicle for their big event.”

Robert Hamilton, Sr., also happens to be master mechanic, and he worked with local vendors to secure replacement parts to get the vehicle running within a few weeks.

Once the vehicle was road ready and safe to drive, Hamilton Jr. and Sr. delivered it to Westwind Coachworks in Dayton.

“Discussions were held on how to proceed and what the plan was for restoring the vehicle not just to its former glory, but to make it better than ever before,” Hamilton said. “A few weeks later, Mr. Bolinger announced the completion of the vehicle and had it delivered back to us. With a fresh 2013 interior and style, we were all in awe of how amazing of a job Mr. Bolinger and his team had done.”

Updates include a new fiber optic lighting system that replaced an out-of-date system, a new floor, additional seating capacity and new electronic controls.

The vehicle is a Chevy 5500 35-passenger luxury coach, which was previously nicknamed “Twilight.” It may be renamed “Phoenix,” Hamilton said.

“Life isn’t fair, business isn’t fair,” Hamilton said. “Instead of wasting any time blaming anyone or pointing fingers, we moved right into action and went into damage control mode, and then recovery mode. We again were shown that sometimes bad things happen to good people, but staying positive, concentrating on taking care of our customers, and looking ahead helps us endure this terrible situation. Additionally, [the chauffeur involved in this incident] still works for Satisfaction Limousines.”

Satisfaction Limousines was founded in 1984 and operates 16 vehicles.

— Michael Campos, LCT associate editor

View comments or post a comment on this story. (1 Comment)

More News

New Online Limo Service Brokerage Offers Discounted Rides

The two-year-old company racks up results and fans as it helps operators fill unused vehicles and seats.

Celebrity Worldwide Launches New Charter Jet Website

Clients of the Philadelphia-based company can book seamless air travel worldwide through an easy, more informative site.

No Way Uber Worth $70 Billion, Investor Says

Meanwhile, the feds have penalized the TNC for misleading consumers on its privacy practices.

Updated Uber For Business Gives Companies More Control

The TNC's refreshed platform will help streamline corporate ride-hail use, especially for unmanaged travel programs.

Dream Team: How One Company Keeps Clients And Staff

eNews Exclusive: Concierge Limousine along California’s Gold Coast knows that without happy, loyal employees, an operation will fall apart.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (1)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - August 2017 $12.95 MILLENNIALS/FAST 40 ISSUE COVER STORY: * How to Score & Keep The Best Young Talent * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment



Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close