JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Food truck owners fed up with recent break-ins took matters into their own hands Thursday when they caught a man burglarizing the food truck and held him at gunpoint until police arrived, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Justice tastes sweet for Jovette Williams and her husband, who own the Smoke in the City BBQ food truck, after Issac Palmer, 24, was arrested on three counts of burglary.
Before they caught the burglary suspect with sticky fingers, police said, their barbecue food truck parked in Arlington had been burglarized twice previously.
Williams told News4Jax on Friday they grew tired of waking up to find food and cash missing from the truck over the last two months.
"My husband has been tallying it up and he says he thinks we have lost about $3,000," she said.
After the second burglary, Williams installed internet in the trailer.
Then, there was another break-in early Thursday morning. The couple were locking up a storage unit when they noticed that lights, which usually shine on their food truck, had been turned off. Williams said she and her husband ran over to find a man up against the door of the food truck.
According to police, the man, identified as Palmer, crawled underneath the trailer's door, which has a lock but was broken at the time.
Police said Williams, gun in hand, confronted Palmer and held him at gunpoint until officers arrived.
"My husband yells out, 'Freeze. Get on the ground,'" Williams recounted. "And I’m holding the gun and he stretches on out on the ground."
The food truck owner, who recorded video of the incident, said she had never pulled a gun on somebody before then.
"At the time, I was actually angry," Williams said. "I was ready for it to be over with, ready for him to stop robbing me so I can fix my trailer and move on with my life."
She said the officers who responded to the food truck burglary were impressed.
"They were, like, 'Good job. Do you want a job?' And I was, like, 'No thank you,'" Williams said. "They congratulated us. They said, 'Y'all did perfect.'"
Williams told News4Jax that Wi-Fi was installed in the food truck just hours before Thursday's burglary. She said the suspect did not apologize when he was caught, but he did ask a question.
According to the police report, Palmer asked Williams, “Was it the internet that gave me away?”
Palmer is charged in all three burglaries. He was booked into the Duval County jail, where he remained as of Friday afternoon.
Williams was "flabbergasted" when she saw Palmer's booking photo.
"He was looking like a Cheshire cat," she said. "We would’ve had no problem feeding him if he would’ve just asked and I guess that’s really what angered me is that you took advantage of us as a small business."