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Man steals military grade truck from SLO brewery and returns it – then steals it again

Posted at 6:26 PM, Oct 25, 2018

The owner of Central Coast Brewing in San Luis Obispo had his military grade truck stolen from the parking lot of his business for a second time Thursday after the same crook stole the truck and returned it Wednesday.

George Peterson, who owns the brewery and the truck, was surprised that anyone would steal the lug of a truck, which he purchased for its ability to carry a pizza oven and brewing equipment.

“It wasn’t the typical stolen truck, get up and go kind of thing,” Peterson said.

Peterson’s truck is an odd choice for a thief.

“It’s slow, terrible on gas mileage,” Peterson said. “(The thief) would have to get gas a couple times to even get to Santa Maria.”

The vehicle, which is designed to withstand gunfire and explosives, sticks out like a sore thumb.

“It’s an old military vehicle, kind of like a six-wheel large 10 or 15-ton vehicle,” said San Luis Obispo Police Sgt. John Villanti.

That’s why Peterson was stunned to watch surveillance footage of his truck driving away Wednesday night.

“Whoever took it, one got it to start, which isn’t the easiest to do, got the lights to work which isn’t the easiest to do and was familiar with the truck because they did a full safety check of the truck in the camera’s view before they left,” Peterson said.

Though the truck is difficult to operate, it’s not equipped with locks or a key ignition, according to Peterson.

He reported the theft to police and it wasn’t long before they found the truck.

“I got a phone call about 2:30 a.m. from the police saying ‘Hey we found the truck, it’s literally at the brewery,'” Peterson recounted.

Peterson’s confusion turned to relief, but then, “So we’re literally, at this morning around 9:30, we’re looking at the footage and I hear the truck start again,” Peterson said. “It’s our same guy.”

This time Peterson confronted the bandit, who didn’t put up a fight when Peterson told him to stop and called the police.

“The owner of the vehicle didn’t want to press charges against the subject,” Villanti said.

Peterson believes the man needs a doctor, not a jail cell, so police connected the man with mental health resources.

Peterson is just happy to once again have his truck, which will be installed with new security measures to keep it from being stolen a third time.