Professional thieves? Crook steals big rig in Polk County

DUNDEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Investigators in Polk County believe they may be dealing with professional thieves.

Around 4 a.m. Friday morning, December 29, 2017, a dark blue 2012 Peterbilt Tractor was stolen from Tire Choice Auto Center at 28919 Hwy 27, Dundee. The thief disconnected the truck from the trailer, exited north in the truck, did a U-Turn, then headed south on Hwy 27.

“They didn’t just see a truck and say ‘hey I’m going to go grab it.’ This guy knew what he was doing, knew what he was looking for. He didn’t have the keys, and he got that truck started and out of there rather quickly,” Polk County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Brian Bruchey said.

Salomon Navarro, the owner of the truck said he is now out $50,000.

“I got mad. Real mad. It’s the best one I have. I just bought it,” Navarro said. “It hurts a lot.”

Navarro believes the crooks were part of a theft ring and could have been headed south.

“Maybe take it to Miami and scrap it and sell it by parts,” he said. “They took only 15 minutes to disconnect the trailer and take only the tractor. They know what they are doing.”

Investigators are also interested in speaking with the man in the picture with the gold or tan SUV. On Thursday (December 28th), he went to the business, and appeared to be trying to distract an employee who was working on the truck, and looked as though he was checking the truck out. Polk County detectives believe he may be involved in the theft. The SUV may be a 2000-2006 GMC Yukon or 1999-2001 Cadillac Escalade.

“That’s the way these guys make their money. I mean they buy these trucks and that is their livelihood. They feed their families with the income that they get from those trucks. It’s unfortunate. So we’re hoping we can get this truck back, undamaged as soon as possible,” Bruchey said.

If you have any information please call Detective Foster at (863)287-2682 or (863)438-9540.

Anyone with information about this investigation who wants to REMAIN ANONYMOUS and be eligible for up to a $3,000 CASH REWARD is asked to call HEARTLAND CRIME STOPPERS AT 1-800-226-TIPS or log onto to submit your tip via the web.

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