By Christina Lusby, Reporter - email
FORT MYERS, FL -Park at your own risk: it's what managers of Pilot Truck Stop are telling drivers after a tractor trailer was stolen from it's lot.
According to drivers, it's not the first truck to be stolen from the area.
Truck drivers are constantly on the road and have to stop. It's the reason Don Tobias was at the Fort Myers Pilot.
"[I am] mainly fueling and showering," said Tobias who’s been driving a truck for 40 years.
It's the same routine for many drivers, but necessity is becoming a risk.
"When you go into shower, they [thieves] are waiting, watching you," said Tobias, "You go into shower and they break into the truck."
The latest victims are driver Alejandro Ponce and partner Anabel Morales.
Ponce and Morales say they have parked at the Fort Myers Pilot before. But on Wednesday after showering, they came out to find their truck and cargo stolen.
“We looked at ourselves saying ‘we just parked it.’ We looked everywhere and it wasn’t there,” said Morales.
Panic set in and Ponce called deputies. He filed the report then both drove to Miami.
Ponce, Morales and other drivers say it’s where semis are often dumped after being stolen.
“The window on the driver’s side was broken into,” said Morales.
It turns out Morales and Ponce’s hunch wasn’t far off.
According to Hialeah Police, the truck was found abandoned behind a tile business.
Police say the suspects broke in and used a freight key to drive it.
"They stole the truck with the least amount of value, thinking it had great value," said Morales, "[I mean] plastic garbage bags, imagine."
Whoever took the truck from Pilot's parking lot stole $20,000 worth of plastic.
The couple is working with their insurance and the company whose cargo they were carrying.
"It's really frustrating," said Morales.
Morales says their insurances will now go up due to the theft.
After the theft, Pilot has been warning drivers to park at will.
"They said park 'at your own risk, we had a truck stolen out of here three or four nights ago.’ They said this isn't the first time it has happened either," said Tobias, "It's happened in the past - three or four times."
"I'm going to be locking my truck when I get out," said Donny Banta another driver who was fueling up at the Fort Myers Pilot.
This is the second tractor-trailer that has been stolen from Lee County.
Last month, an egg truck with more than 180,000 eggs was taken from a 7-Eleven. The truck turned up in Homestead, but all the cargo was missing.
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