Crime

Police find county commissioner’s stolen truck stripped down and abandoned

District 11 Commissioner Joe A. Martinez wrote on Facebook that the truck, which had gone missing the night of July 27, had had its logos rubbed off and most of the equipment inside stolen.
District 11 Commissioner Joe A. Martinez wrote on Facebook that the truck, which had gone missing the night of July 27, had had its logos rubbed off and most of the equipment inside stolen. Facebook

City of Miami police officers located a missing pickup truck belonging to a Miami-Dade County commissioner’s office Friday, more than a week after it was swiped.

District 11 Commissioner Joe A. Martinez wrote on Facebook that the truck, which had gone missing the night of July 27, had had its logos rubbed off and most of the equipment inside stolen. But the vehicle, which police officers found abandoned on a sidewalk in Allapattah, hadn’t been dumped in a lake after the theft as the commissioner had feared.

“It is unfortunate that much of the equipment in the vehicle was stripped off and the paint completely damaged, but staff is thankful that the ‘people’s’ truck was found,” he wrote.

The truck was discovered near the corner of Northwest 23rd Street and 11th Avenue, Martinez wrote. It was still unclear Saturday who had been behind the theft.

County commissioners often use their service trucks to drive around the district and perform needed repairs, from fixing broken bus benches and potholes to making constituent visits. Martinez’s truck had been sitting in the parking lot in front of his office in West Kendall overnight when it went missing, prompting the office to file a report the following morning.

Martinez, whose prior career as a Miami-Dade police detective included its fair share of auto thefts, theorized after the truck was stolen that the crime might have been part of a gang initiation or an attempt to strip the vehicle for some parts.

“I’m guessing whoever took it doesn’t want to hold onto it for very long,” he told the Miami Herald last week. “It might be dumped in a lake.”

Before police officers located the truck Friday afternoon, Martinez told the Herald that he had personally driven around the county the day after it went missing, hoping to spot the white truck with his name plastered prominently on its side in blue. But his impromptu reconaissance mission was unsuccessful, as was a quick sweep of the county police chopper as it flew to a nearby county airport that day.

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