By Erich Wagner (File photo)
Rich Arslan, owner of the local food truck business Popped! Republic, noticed his bright orange truck was not in the parking lot along South Dove Street as he got to work this morning. But it wasn’t until he parked his personal vehicle that he realized something was amiss.
“I was heading east on Duke Street, and I always notice our truck when I look over into the parking lot, but this morning I just figured one of my employees took it home,” he said. “But once I got into the parking lot, none of their cars were there, and as I got closer [to where it was parked], I saw broken glass on the floor, so I knew right away it was stolen.”
Arslan immediately called police and filed a report. Since then, he has posted constantly on social media, in an attempt to raise awareness and keep people on the lookout for his mobile eatery.
“I’m doing everything I can just to keep this thing active right now,” he said. “That truck is our primary revenue generator. It’s what put us on the map. This could just be a huge, huge, huge potential setback.”
Every day, Arslan and his crew patrols the streets of Washington in search of residents and workers with cravings for popcorn. Alexandria police spokeswoman Ashley Hildebrandt said investigators are searching for the flamboyantly painted vehicle.
“We’re definitely actively looking into it,” she said. “It’s definitely not your normal stolen vehicle. But, you know, it just goes to show that no vehicle is safe, and you need to take extra precautions when you leave your vehicle.”
Police encouraged anyone with information about this incident and anybody who catches a glimpse of the Popped! Republic truck to call the department’s non-emergency line at 703-746-4444.