The owner of a car that serial killer Ted Bundy had stolen and was driving when he was arrested in Pensacola says he just didn’t feel right about trying to capitalize on its notoriety.
So, Rick Garzaniti sold the 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle for only $1,310 four months after the orange car was returned to him in 1978.
“I knew that this was more than a stolen vehicle,” the Tallahassee massage therapist told the Pensacola News Journal for a story Thursday.
“I thought about it later that I should have put it in the National Enquirer, and some screwball might have given me $20,000 for it,” he said. “It would be like having something Bonnie and Clyde owned.”
Garzaniti’s decided, instead, to sell his piece of crime history to the father of a 16-year-old girl who wanted it for her first car. He explained the car’s history, but they didn’t seem to mind.
His decision contrasts with recent efforts by Lonnie Anderson, a former Utah sheriff’s deputy, to get $25,000 for a tan 1968 Beetle that Bundy owned and used to haul the bodies of at least 11 of his victims in Washington, Utah and Colorado. Anderson paid $925 for the car at a sheriff’s auction in the late 1970s.
Bundy was never tried or convicted for any murders in those three states.
Garzaniti, 48, said he also passed on an idea for an anti-theft device.
“When I got a new car,” he recalled, “I wanted to put a bumper sticker on it that read ‘The last person who sole my car was electrocuted.”’ Bundy died in Florida’s electric chair in 1989. A Pensacola police officer arrested the killer in February 1978 after spotting him driving Garzaniti’s car.
Bundy had stolen it three days earlier in Tallahassee, 200 miles east of this Florida Panhandle city, while Garzaniti was at a movie.
Bundy murdered two of his victims in Tallahassee while they slept in the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University.
He was executed for killing 12-year-old Kimberly Leach of Lake City.
Garzaniti said Bundy had taken good care of the car but that state investigators tore it up during the six weeks they kept it for processing.
They returned it to him covered with fingerprinting powder, a fist-size hole in the passenger’s seat where his 2-year-old daughter had left a red candy stain - investigators thought it might have been blood - and one oversize tire used to replace a flat on the return trip to Tallahassee.
A year after selling the car, Garzaniti got a call from a St. Petersburg radio station employee who told him someone there was trying to sell a Beetle claiming it was the one Bundy had stolen.
That was the last Garzaniti heard of the car.