Authorities say Mojave resident John Robinson took good care of his cars.
Robinson kept a 1965 Buick Riviera, a 1984 Cadillac Coupe De Ville and a 1987 Buick Grand National. Together, the vehicles are worth about $70,000.
But all of them were stolen out of Los Angeles between July and October of 2002.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Enfield said a tip from an informant led investigators to Robinson's home. They served a search warrant Oct. 23, arrested Robinson and recovered the cars.
"They were actually in pretty decent condition," Enfield said of the vehicles.
Authorities say they don't know who stole the cars originally and they haven't identified any other suspects. Robinson was arrested on suspicion of being an ex-felon in possession of a gun and operating a chop shop.
Enfield said Robinson will be tried in Kern County.
All of the vehicles are still operable. The original owners were paid off through insurance, and the cars have been released to the insurance companies.
Enfield said investigators are now working to determine whose hands the cars passed through over the years. The vehicles were given fraudulent identification numbers, and their registrations have been pulled from the DMV to determine when those numbers were first entered.
Enfield said it's not an every day occurrence to recover vehicles missing more than a decade, but it does happen.
"We've had other cases like this where cars have fallen out of the system," he said.