GAINESVILLE -- A Whitesboro man on a search for his missing vehicle, a dump truck. It’s an unusual theft with a happy ending. Brett Rodgers drove miles and miles, even offered a reward, to help find his custom dump truck. He says he's resting a little bit easier tonight.
"It’s mind boggling. I've worked 28 years, 29 years to have something I'd be proud of," Rodgers said.
Brett Rodgers bought this custom 1981 Peterbilt 359 dump truck four years ago, and it was the shining star of his gravel company fleet.
"The whole truck was white, had 2 red stripes about 4 inches wide came over the top of the hood in the front of the cab and ended at the front of the bed with a frame. Then, it had every kind of chrome stainless steel you could put on a truck," said Rodgers.
Rodgers and a friend, both driving dump trucks, parked their trucks in a Gainesville Pizza Inn parking lot then walked to Amigos restaurant nearby. Both men left their trucks running with the keys inside, and the doors locked.
When Rodgers came out of Amigos restaurant he and his friend walked back to the parking lot. His friend's truck was here, but his was gone.
"Somebody's playing a joke on you and we thought somebody's got in it and moved it on the other side of the Pizza Inn.,” Rodgers said. “Immediately we went to the other side of the Pizza Inn and when it wasn't there, it was like, it's real."
After filing a police report, Rodgers began to hear tips from other truckers on his truck's whereabouts. He stopped at every nearby truck stop, even drove to Greenville, hoping to find his truck.
Police say although it's difficult to steal such a large truck in broad daylight, heavy equipment theft is becoming more common.
"They can take these things and probably trade that truck or trade it for narcotics," said Carl Dunlap, Gainesville police chief.
Rodgers was ready to offer a $5,000 dollar reward, and then he received the call this afternoon. His truck was found abandoned near the Pizza Inn.
Rodgers says the truck doesn't have much damage except that he's missing a set of keys and a tag box. He says police plan to dust for fingerprints to try and find a suspect.