Mark Oberholtzer says he traded in his black, Ford F-250 pickup truck at AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway in Houston and was told the dealership would remove the decals of his company logo from the truck on their own to avoid scratching the truck’s paint.
Months later, Oberholtzer says the truck began showing up in photographs posted on extremist Twitter feeds, with the logo and phone number of his Mark-1 Plumbing company still clearly visible.
“My secretary called me and said, ‘You can’t believe this,’” Oberholtzer told ABC News. “I really at first thought it was just somebody playing with us.”
“She was getting constant calls, threats, nothing about plumbing,” the Texas City, Texas, plumber said of his secretary.
The social media photos, which also began to pop up on Yelp, show the truck in action with ISIS militants firing an anti-aircraft gun with the Mark-1 Plumbing logo and company phone number clearly visible.
“A Texas plumber’s work truck showed up in Syria, although, pickup truck, desert, giant machine gun, that could still be Texas,” Colbert joked on the show.
Using the website Carfax.com, the truck was tracked from an auction site in Houston to Mersin, Turkey and, finally, somewhere near Aleppo in Syria and in the hands of jihadists.
Oberholtzer’s lawsuit against AutoNation, filed this month in Texas, seeks $1 million in damages, claiming “Mark-1’s revenues were lost and the company’s reputation … was irretrievably damaged.”
AutoNation told ABC News the company set Oberholtzer’s truck out for auction as soon as it came in.
“The truck came in on trade and was immediately sent to auction. The auctions in most accounts will prep the vehicles. We have the paperwork that shows the steps the vehicle took," AutoNation said in a statement. "It is unfortunate that the customer has had to go through this.”