Stolen antique truck affects family's business

By Marques White - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Owners of one business in Jacksonville say they hope someone can help them find their antique, collectible tow truck that was stolen.

They say someone broke into Raymond's Auto Repair and Parts on Eastport Road on the Northside late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning and stole a 1963 Ford F700 wrecker.

Now family members are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of that truck.

They say if they don't get the truck back, it could mean their business could shut down for good.

Family members believe someone entered the business, took the truck, backed it up and drove through the door.

After all was said and done, there were two damaged doors, shattered glass and a stolen truck. That's not how the owners of the auto shop wanted to start their day.

"They were really furious," said Zoel Houle, the son of the business owners. "My mom was in tears. My mom was crying. This is our family. My brother has worked here. All of us worked here as kids. This is our home."

With the truck gone, it's going to make things difficult for the business.

"It may actually be that we may not survive," Houle said. "Without the truck, we're not able to move the trucks around in the back."

In addition to worrying about getting the truck back, family members are worried about the cost of repairing the two doors.

"More than likely, with it being that old and so easy for police to spot, they may be trying to sell it quickly, maybe out of state or use it here in town," said News4Jax crime analyst Gil Smith. "They may have a small wrecker yard or something like that where they can keep it inside."

Smith recommends business owners have an alarm system if they have any thing of value.

Meanwhile, the Houle family is just hoping to get the truck back.

"I hope that they get caught and they've realized they've almost doomed the business to failure," Houle said.

If you know anything about the theft, call police. To get in touch with the family for a reward, callĀ 904-537-1305.

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