One of those big box trucks that move merchandise through Charlottesville was stolen over the weekend from the parking lot of its owner, the Ceiling and Floor Shop. Business co-owner Bernie Martin says that his hopes of finding the vehicle are dimming.
“I guess people steal vehicles for joy-riding,” Martin told The Daily Progress. “I was hoping that maybe somebody had done that and parked it somewhere.”
The vehicle was gone by Sunday, and by Tuesday, it still hadn’t turned up.
“I cringe to think that it would be some type of professional job where they would drive the truck out of state and try to sell it,” said Martin.
Compounding Martin’s problem is that the truck, acquired three years ago for $33,500, wasn’t wearing the company name or its distinctive red logo.
“We were getting ready to have that done,” Martin said.
The vehicle is a 2017 Ford 350 box truck. A 16-foot vehicle, it’s an industry workhorse, according to Colton Mawyer, the internet manager at Malloy Ford.
“They’re very popular with our work companies around here,” Mawyer told The Daily Progress. “They’re pretty much the thing to go for if you’re in the carpet business.”
Martin said that his carpet business last saw the truck on Friday afternoon when a crew bought it back to the shop on Keystone Place in lower Belmont and dropped the key in an outside drop box. Two days later, the cleaning lady noticed something was amiss.
“She always scans the area when she comes to clean every Sunday afternoon,” said Martin. “The lockbox was pried open; the key was missing.”
Martin said the company called the Charlottesville Police Department and got a visit from an officer.
“They said they would give it to a detective, but they said all the detectives are so busy that they have a 100 cases to investigate, and they said to be patient,” Martin said.
Martin said the company has a pair of pickup trucks and one other box truck but really needs its full fleet.
“It’s a serious theft,” said Martin, “and patience can only go but so far.”
Mawyer, the box truck authority, suggested that the Ceiling & Floor Shop do a little sleuthing of its own.
“That flooring company should get in touch with other floor companies as well as appliance companies, gutter companies, and small moving companies,” said Mawyer.
Mawyer contended that time is of the essence for both victim and thief.
“It’s pretty hard to hide a 16-foot box truck,” said Mawyer. “It’s something they’ll have to get rid of very quickly. Most likely it’s going to be turned around and sold. Or parted out.”