Local News

Tractor of liquor-laden freight rig turns up in Benson

Posted May 8, 2008 5:28 p.m. EDT
Updated May 9, 2008 9:13 a.m. EDT

— The tractor unit of a stolen tractor-trailer rig was found Thursday in Benson, but its semi-trailer – loaded with $150,000 in liquor – was still missing.

The rig's driver parked it left overnight May 1 in a lot behind a Bojangles' near the intersection of U.S. Highway 70 Business and Shotwell Road, detectives said. When the driver returned the next day, the truck was gone.

A citizen called 911 at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, saying a truck had been parked near a business entrance for several days. A Johnston County sheriff's deputy responded and found the tractor near the intersection of Interstate 40 and N.C. Highway 210.

The 2006 Volvo truck had been hauling a large cargo of liquor when it was taken. Detectives said they hope surveillance cameras at nearby gas stations will provide clues about the theft.

There is evidence the truck was broken into and hot-wired, detectives said. Fingerprint tests were also conducted inside the cab of the recovered tractor.

Word of the unusual heist spread quickly throughout Johnston County.

“Sounds like if you were going to steal something, that's the truck to go with,” trucker Edward Brown said.

When he needs to rest, he uses the lot the truck was stolen from, Brown said. However, he said he is not worried about someone targeting his cargo.

“Somebody probably knew liquor was in the truck and that was what they went for. As far as stealing any other trucks in the area, I would tend to doubt it,” he said.

The 53-foot missing trailer is white and chrome with a Cowan Systems company logo on the back doors and Maine license plate 0975737. The trailer is valued at $100,000.

Police withheld the name of the truck driver, and he is not a suspect at this time, detectives said.

It was originally thought that $500,000 worth of liquor was in the trailer. Cowan Systems has since lowered that estimate to $150,000.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Jason Barnes of the Clayton Police Department at 919-553-1570.