Carnival concessions business hit hard by COVID gets stolen truck back thanks to social media

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ATWOOD, Tenn. — The owner of a concessions company says thanks to social media, he was able to locate a large box truck two days after it was stolen from a fair in Atwood, Tennessee.

The bright green and white truck was caught on camera early Tuesday morning in Milan, TN. James Roy Pope, the owner of Pope’s Concessions and Rides, said the Pope County Sheriff’s Office found the truck some 300 miles away in Russellville, Arkansas, late Thursday afternoon.

“It was shared on Facebook by some friends in Union City, Tennessee, and some friends of theirs in Arkansas saw it, and they spotted it, and they called them, and they called us, and we called the sheriff,” said Pope.

Pope said 2020 was one of his worst years in the carnival business. Due to the pandemic, he only did six fairs instead of about 40. He said the stolen truck contained thousands of dollars worth of carnival equipment and was taken during the middle of the night from the Tri-County Fairgrounds.

“We are coming of a hard year and then to have something like this happen,” said Pope.

Pope said he posted pictures of the stolen truck on his Facebook page to get some help from his Facebook friends and those in the carnival community but had no idea they would find the vehicle so fast.

“It’s pretty serious.  I had over 1,300 shares out there. So enough people cared about me and my company and family to do that, and that’s a lot,” said Pope.

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Pope believes a new employer was responsible for the theft and said the Pope County Sheriff’s Office took one person into custody. He said he should have his truck back in time for a weekend festival.

“Going to do a little spring fling in Cookeville, Tennessee,” said Pope.

We contacted the Pope County Sheriff’s Office but have not confirmed an arrest or found out what charges they might be facing.

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