A trio of truck thefts from Dr Pepper distributors around Texas in the last few months have all ended the same way -- with the trucks abandoned just hours after they were stolen, somewhere between Dallas and Fort Worth, with loads of beverage gone missing.
In early February, according to a report in the Sherman Herald-Democrat, a Dr Pepper distributor in Sherman reported one of its tractor-trailers missing; police found the truck the next morning, abandoned 80 miles away in Hurst, parked along State Highway 183 in Hurst with its engine running.
One month later, truck rustlers struck again, hot-wiring a pair of fully loaded semi trucks at a Waco Dr Pepper distributor, and driving them through a chain link fence early in the early morning hours of March 1. That afternoon, police found the trucks abandoned along Lone Star Drive in West Dallas, near Interstate 30.
Dallas is a major hub for cargo theft, but down in Waco, police spokesman Sgt. Patrick Swanton tells Unfair Park this is the first time in his 30-year career he's seen a soda truck completely cleared out like this. "Occasionally, maybe you get thefts from beer trucks, when they're unloading with the door open" he says.
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Swanton says they're still investigating the theft, but don't have any suspects just yet. As Dallas PD spokesman Ches Williams told the Waco Tribune, though, the fact "that the trucks were left in an area [where] they were likely to be found suggests the evil-doers who stole them were after the DP."
Then on March 16, a Dr Pepper bottling plant in Wichita Falls reported yet another pair of trucks missing -- each carrying $20,000 worth of product like the pair from Waco, and driven off the yard without keys.
Sometime in the last week, the trucks were found -- one in Fort Worth, one in Euless -- with the soda gone, according to a Wichita Falls Times Record News report speculating the Dr Pepper thefts could even be part of "a statewide criminal ring."
According to that story, Fort Worth Police are leading an investigation into the most recent theft. I've got calls out to Dr Pepper, and police in Fort Worth, Hurst and Sherman, and we'll update when we learn more.