A series of skillfully completed semi truck thefts in southeast Texas have investigators convinced they are all connected.
The most recent theft happened in the Bridge City Walmart parking lot earlier this week, leaving trucker Vicki Fowler without her home away from home, reported KFDM 6 News.
“This is my livelihood. I’ve got all my electronic devices, laptop… Everything that you would need, most of my clothing. Everything that you have at home. I live in my truck all but approximately 34 hours every two weeks, 70 hours a month I’m home. Other than that, everything is in this truck,” said Fowler.
Fowler says she always parks her truck in the parking lot when she’s home, but when she first noticed her truck missing, she assumed that Walmart had towed it. However, upon further investigation Fowler noticed that her truck’s GPS and other systems had been torn out of the cab and thrown on the ground – that’s when she knew something was definitely wrong.
“They know what they were doing. They wouldn’t have known to take all of this stuff out of here,” she said of the thieves. Fowler’s is the third truck to be stolen out of the area recently – the previous two were stolen out of a Beaumont truck stop parking lot. All three thefts happened within days of each other.
Jared Dupree, Southeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force investigator who is investigating the string of tractor trailer thefts, says that Fowler is probably right to assume the thieves are familiar with semi trucks in some way.
“We don’t see many truck tractor thefts. Usually when we do see truck tractor thefts, the suspects know what they’re doing. They come in, usually from outside the area, steal the vehicle and then flee the area with them,” Dupree said.
“18 wheelers and truck tractors in particular, you have to know how to start them and you’d have to know how to get inside them. And therefore that leads us to believe that the person that stole these might possibly be related.”
Fowler says that the loss of her truck is a giant blow, and hopes that the thieves will do the right thing and return her rig.
“I can’t stop crying, this is my income. And now, I’ve got to start with zero. I’m going to have me and mattresses.”