MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The pastor of Covington First United Methodist believes a couple who came to their church pretending to need help walked off with the keys to their large food pantry truck and drove it off their lot several hours later.
“Through our surveillance video, it shows it was taken somewhere between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday,” said Pastor Michael Pence. “Once we called police, they found footage of the truck heading out of town on Highway 14, Austin Peay Highway at the County line.”
Pence said the couple showed up at the church Tuesday, and Wednesday, when they noticed the truck was missing, they realized the keys were gone, too.
“We feel like they provided some false information, and they were just kind of coming through the building and found the keys to our truck,” Pence said. “We know the truck wasn’t broken into, so they had to use keys.”
He said without the truck, they can’t pick up the bulk items from Memphis.
“They load on pallets, which is the main reason we purchased the truck so we could make those runs to the Mid-South Food Bank,” said Pence. “They don’t load on to pickup trucks or flatbed trailers. They only load on to trucks.”
He said volunteers have stepped up with pickup trucks, trailers, and vans to pick up food donations from local grocers and community groups, but they will be limited on what they can do.
Pence said they are still doing drive-through food distributions, and the need is greater than ever.
“It’s starting to pick up now that school has started, and COVID is making a comeback,” he said.
The stolen white box truck has Bread of Life Food Pantry written on it, but Pence said it’s possible the vehicle has been painted.
“I’ve been looking. Someone suggested getting on Craig’s List and see if you find any new listings, but I haven’t seen any. I’m sure there are others ways to sell stolen vehicles,” said Pence.
If you have seen the stolen truck or know anything about the theft, you can contact Covington Police anonymously by texting “Tipton” and your message to 847411 (tip411).