A car sold in Sheffield was found dumped and damaged in Rotherham one week later.
Officers found the Renault Clio in Melton Green, West Melton, Rotherham, last week after receiving calls from members of the public.
The car's rear window, windscreen and headlights had been smashed and the front end was damaged.
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "Enquiries with the DVLA and in Sheffield, to trace the owner, revealed that the vehicle had been sold one week prior to us finding it in this condition.
"The vehicle has been removed to secure compound until the rightful owner is located."
If any information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.