Trucker says he was tied up, kidnapped in Missouri

| 8/13/2009

A truck driver told police he was tied up in broad daylight and taken for a ride by two thugs outside a St. Louis-area truck stop.

Det. Larry Cook of the Pacific, MO, police department said sheriff’s deputies in Jefferson County responded to a man who was tied up and honking his truck horn at Highway 109 and Missouri Highway W around midday on Tuesday, Aug. 11.

The driver told deputies that he had left a Pilot Travel Center near Pacific after grabbing breakfast late Tuesday morning when he was approached by a man who he believed had a gun. The man forced him into the truck, the driver told authorities, tied him up and put him in the truck’s sleeper.

The driver said another man then entered the truck and drove it for about 45 minutes before parking it in Jefferson County as both alleged assailants left the scene.

The driver was robbed of an undetermined amount of cash, Cook said, though the driver’s load of building insulation remained untouched.

Cook said the trucker is an owner-operator in his mid-40s from Florida.

The driver told police that he was approached by a black male, but didn’t know details about the alleged accomplice who drove his truck.

“We know there was one black male; we don’t know if the other was white, black, Hispanic or otherwise,” Cook said. “It’s going to be a hard one.”

Police were reviewing security tapes from the truck stop on Thursday morning. Cook said that a lack of cameras near the truck parking area, however, made the investigation difficult.

“We don’t know if it was an isolated incident,” Cook said. “They don’t have cameras in the back parking lot. They’ve got them on the pumps and on the buildings, but not in the back.”

The St. Louis area has had  ash of electronics thefts, Cook said.

The accused thieves may have accidentally picked the wrong truck, or they could simply be small time crooks, he said.

A truck stop abduction in broad daylight is rare, Cook told Land Line.

“The guys on the road should be aware of their surroundings, particularly if they see anyone following them back to their vehicle,” Cook said.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer