Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez had his district office’s truck go missing overnight Thursday, and the former county detective has spent Friday trying to track it down.
A press release announced its suspected theft from his District 11 office in West Kendall. County police came to take a report. Martinez has been driving around nearby lakes to see if the white pick-up truck festooned with the commissioner’s name and Miami-Dade logos had been abandoned after a joy ride. Miami-Dade Police even deployed a helicopter to help with the search, Martinez said.
“I have several theories,” said Martinez, whose career in the Miami-Dade police department included time with the auto-theft desk. “That car can’t be on the road. It’s way too high-profile. That was either a gang initiation, or they needed the tires, or they needed the overhead light, or they needed the tommy lift in the back.”
Commissioners often use their office budgets to employ service trucks that staff will use to patrol districts for needed repairs like potholes or damaged bus benches, pick up stray shopping carts and visit constituents requesting county services. Martinez, who now works in the private security business, said his own search for the truck didn’t turn up any leads, and that he hasn’t heard anything hopeful from police, either.
He said the county police chopper was on its way back to a nearby county airport when it made a swoop to see if the truck was visible from the air. No luck. (Agency spokeswoman Jennifer Capote, a Miami-Dade detective, said helicopters sometimes assist with auto-theft cases if the choppers are already airborne for another mission.)
That’s left Martinez to assume the worst. “I’m guessing whoever took it doesn’t want to hold onto it for very long,” he said. “It might be dumped in a lake.”
“This wasn’t stolen from me,” he added. “It was stolen from the taxpayers.”