Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Can we see licence, rego and cup ...

Tales of the colourful history of the Louis Vuitton Cup continue to emerge with a well-placed member of San Francisco's sailing community revealing the trophy was at the centre of a police chase this month.

After yesterday's revelation that the silverware, which is awarded to the winner of the America's Cup challenger series, was damaged by Team New Zealand in a game of rugby following their victory in 2007, the Herald has discovered the trophy was reported stolen in the lead-up to this year's final.

The cup was on display at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Belvedere, a town northeast of the Golden Gate Bridge, as part of a gala dinner.

During the evening, club officials were alarmed to discover the trophy had been swiped from its pedestal.

Among the club's members was a district attorney who called police.

There is just one main highway in and out of Belvedere, which is monitored by licence plate-reading technology. Every vehicle that passes in and out of the town is recorded.

Police quickly put their surveillance equipment to use, identifying a suspicious vehicle with out-of-town licence plates making a getaway.

The suspicious vehicle was pulled over about 12km down the highway, and officers discovered the trophy after a search of the car.

A spokesperson from the Belvedere police department told the Herald the driver was briefly detained then released after it was discovered a mix-up had occurred. The man in possession of the trophy was a representative of Louis Vuitton who was returning the cup to the organisation.

- NZ Herald

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