CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- A Cape Coral man is devastated after someone stole his semi. He left it in an empty lot behind the BJs Wholesale off Pine Island Road, but someone drove away with it.
That's not the end of the story. Right now, police are tracking the big truck, and how they're doing it might surprise you. At one point, authorities were able to track the semi to Miami, not by GPS or the license plate, but from its SunPass!
WINK News has now learned police located the truck, without the trailer, in Homestead, FL.
The blue semi truck represents Esteban Figueroa's way of life. The Cape Coral man owns a transportation business and needs the 1999 Freightliner to haul produce.
But a thief put the brakes on that business.
On Monday, Figueroa parked the blue semi in this vacant lot behind BJs in Cape Coral near Pine Island Road. Tuesday, it was gone. "What a big surprise, you know? You don't know what to feel. You feel many things, you know?" he said.
He spoke to us by phone from Miami, because police tracked the swiped semi to that general location thanks to its SunPass.
Susan Hopwood with LeeWay says each SunPass or LeeWay Transponder has a special code. While officers can't pinpoint the exact location of a stolen vehicle using a SunPass, they can get an idea of a trip history. "They can see if passed through Thursday at Alligator Alley or if it went through the Cape Coral Bridge on Friday," Hopwood explained.
Cape Coral's Police Chief says he's alerted other agencies across the state, but says it's not uncommon for stolen equipment to end up in Miami. "Back in the heyday, the housing boom, many pieces of equipment, dump trucks tractors and so forth would be stolen off of job sites and end up in container ships headed to South America," said Chief Jay Murphy.
Meanwhile, Figueroa will stay in Miami, hoping he'll spot the rest of his semi, and get his business back on the road.