Truck owner Dustin Shakespear said his family had finished unloading most of the items from their family truck, and were working on putting Christmas together before turning in for the night, when he heard his truck engine revving outside.
“At first I thought it was just some kids out there – you know,” he said. “And then I heard a little bit better and I thought ‘No, that’s my truck.’”
Shakespear said he made it outside just in time to see the truck die, restart, and then take off right in front of his eyes, “They dropped it in gear, slammed on the gas, and spun out.”
At first, he said he thought a neighborhood kid that he coached might have been playing a joke on him, or maybe even a family member. After making a few phone calls however, Shakespear said he soon began to realize that his worst nightmare was true – he had just watched someone steal his black Ford F250 truck – fully loaded, red, 16-foot trailer attached and all.
Shakespear said the trailer had an entertainment center, some old tires, a swamp cooler, and several other items still on it, because he was planning to drop them off in Escalante, Utah before returning home to Monroe, Utah after spending the holiday with his wife’s family.
“Thankfully,” he said. “We got all of our (Christmas) stuff other than one gift out before it was stolen.”
Shortly after the thief pulled away, Shakespear said his wife posted a picture of the truck and trailer to facebook along with a complete description of the vehicle alerting the public of what happened, and they filed a report with the Piute County Sheriff’s Department.
Piute County Sheriff Marty Gleave said the call bout the stolen truck came in at about 1 a.m. Christmas morning. He said that, when caught, the suspect could be facing felony theft charges.
Immediately following Stacey Shapespear’s facebook post about the truck, Dustin Shakespear said a flurry of sharing took place from one group page to the next, with information being spread throughout Southern Utah and beyond via the internet. In total the four status updates that began at almost 3 a.m. Christmas morning were shared 136 times.
All day Christmas, and the day after, messages and tips were flooding the shared status posts of Stacey Shapespear alerting the family (and police) of truck sightings in Elsinore, Utah and Kanab, Utah, before finally someone spotted the truck Thursday evening on I-15 between Glendale, Nev. and Las Vegas.
According to a public status update on Stacey Shakespear’s facebook Thursday evening Nevada Highway Patrol found the F250 at a gravel pit, but the red 16-foot trailer was not with it.
“We are thinking they have ditched the trailer somewhere between Circleville and Las Vegas,” she said. “Please keep sharing and help us find our trailer – “Facebook nation” is amazing – we thank you all.”
Sheriff Gleave said the truck was recovered at mile marker 101 on I-15 in Nevada, and though it was in the custody of Mesquite, Nev. Law officials Friday morning, he said he had plans to retrieve the vehicle for the family some time on Sunday or Monday.
Sheriff Gleave said that though the truck was taken, and recovered, across the state line, the crime would be prosecuted in Piute County, because that is where the truck was stolen. He said after processing the truck for evidence, the Piute County Sheriff’s department will immediately remand the vehicle to the Shakespear’s custody.
Though police have recovered the truck itself, Sheriff Gleave said he is still unsure of the condition of the vehicle, with exception to the missing trailer and the missing gun taken from the truck’s cab before police found it.
Sheriff Gleave said that the police were investigating a suspect, but were unwilling to release any specific information about that suspect until they had that person in custody and charged.
“They’ve got a pretty good lead on the guy,” Shakespear said. “I just hope that they can get him in some time soon.”
Police are asking that if anyone who has information about this case to come forward and report it to Piute County Sheriff Marty Gleave at (435)577-2893 or stop in to the Piute County Sheriff’s Department at 550 N. Main St., Junction, Utah.