Van Thomas was trying to live the American dream. After years as a trucker, he bought his very own semi in early October and made a company of his own.
However, while traveling from Texas to Pompano Beach, Thomas made a stop in Orlando that took everything he worked for away from him.
Thomas was devastated to find that his tractor trailer was stolen from the truck stop. "I don't mean to cry about it, but I'm just trying to do the best I can and make a better life," said Thomas.
At the time, Thomas was hauling 44,000 pounds of Miller High Life. That's about 9,700 four-packs of beer.
Thomas was crushed. "I invested all my time and energy into this company and to have this happen at this stage of the game is really devastating right now."
Thomas said it's a problem that drivers like him have to deal with all too often. A truck full of eggs was stolen earlier this year in Fort Myers, as well as a truck with Hershey's chocolate stolen last year in Volusia County and a truck filled with Slimfast that was swiped near Downtown Orlando.
It's thousands of dollars gone from the truckers' pockets, and for Thomas, it was $2,300, plus the cost of his truck.
However, when all looked grim, Thomas received a very welcoming phone call. Just as he was losing all hope, City of Miami Police detectives told him his semi had been found. "Oh, my God, that's beautiful," said Thomas.
And, yes, some of that beer was still inside. "Oh, man. That's the best news I've heard, man. Thank you so much, man."
Detectives are trying to figure out who stole Thomas' truck. They are also investigating whether the theft was part of a bigger ring.