An Orange County family was forced to shut down their small business and has turned to an auto theft detective after the truck they relied on for work was stolen last week.
Orlando and Diana Stef of Buena Park weren’t allowed to park their new, light blue Bobtail truck in their front yard, so they parked it in a busy industrial area at Altura Boulevard and Reggio Avenue, where truckers often leave their big rigs.
They assumed the $50,000 Prostar Eagle would be safe since they had parked trucks there before, and checked on it one last time before taking a short trip out of town. When they returned, it was gone.
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"I couldn’t believe my eyes," Orlando Stef said. "I just came from over there, I kind of circled here, like, 'Where's my truck? Where's my truck?'"
He said he believes the truck was stolen sometime Saturday morning, and given that he had both keys and the truck was locked when it was stolen, said whoever took the big rig knew what they were doing.
The 2010 Bobtail was a recent purchase by the Stefs, so new that the license plates hadn’t yet been attached. To make the theft even worse, the truck had no alarm, no tracking system, and no distinctive details that might make it easier to recover.
The Stefs have turned to Marc Hinch of Stolen911.com, a website that helps people who have been victims of theft track down their stolen vehicles. Posting is free, and Hinch said the website results in about one recovery each week.
Hinch, a San Francisco-area website developer who also considers himself to be something of an auto theft detective, said the Stefs’ truck was likely targeted for one particular reason.
"Big rigs like this a lot of times are taken for their tires," Hinch said. "Tires are worth thousands of dollars on a rig like this, and in this case the tires are brand new."
For the Stefs, who have two young children, recovering the truck isn’t about its monetary value, but about the role it plays in providing their family’s livelihood.
"I just want them to give us our truck back," Diana Stef said. "Just bring it back, because it's my husband’s hard work and he’s done so much to provide for our family."
In the meantime, the Stefs have been told by their insurance company that they will have to wait 30 days to make a claim.