WATCH: Thieves steal business owner’s truck, trailer while he works in New Orleans’ Warehouse District

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 10:33 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2022 at 5:43 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - In the blink of an eye, a New Orleans business owner was robbed of his truck and customized trailer as soon as he stepped out of it last weekend.

It happened Saturday (Sept. 10) around 7:30 p.m. at the intersection of Magazine and Notre Dame streets.

Just 10 seconds from the moment Reduce & Reuse Recycling owner Hendrik Vanderwall stepped out of his truck was all it took.

“I just put the tailgate down on the trailer,” Vanderwall said. “Before I know it, I saw this car coming. And then I didn’t think anything of it. Like, everybody passes me up.”

But this black Kia Soul did not pass. Instead, it quickly stopped next to his truck.

“Right when I started getting suspicious about it, my truck and trailer was already moving,” Vanderwall said.

Someone in a gray hoodie with bright orange gloves had slipped out of the Kia and into the passenger side of Vanderwall’s truck. Another person slid over into the Kia’s driver seat, and both drove away before Vanderwall could stop them.

Vanderwall suspects the thieves were following him as he picked up recycling bins from customers.

“I started this business from the ground with that trailer. I built that trailer just for that,” Vanderwall said.

Vanderwall started his recycling business a year ago. He said he couldn’t just watch what he worked so hard for be driven away. He briefly tried to hang on to the trailer as the thief drove off.

“First thing you think about is I have a 2-month-old daughter at home, I have a wife at home that depend on me. You know, a lot of things are gonna go through your mind. I just can’t let this get away. And so, it’s just a really depressing moment,” Vanderwall said.

The truck remains missing, but Vanderwall said he got a call that the trailer might have been found over the weekend, blocking lanes of traffic on South Broad Street.

“They said, ‘Oh yeah, there was a trailer and the police picked it up,’” Vanderwall said. “So, I thought, ‘Great, much rather have the police pick it up.’ But I’ve been to literally four police stations so far today. No one knows where it’s at.”

On top of looking for his truck and trailer, Vanderwall has to make sure his business keeps functioning.

“I’ve worked day and night for this business, and someone is just going to be so careless,” Vanderwall said. “The criminals, they just don’t care. And they know they can get away with it.”

The NOPD has not responded to requests for comment on the incident or the possibly recovered trailer. Vanderwall said his truck is a black 2017 GMC Sierra with a hole in its tailgate. Anyone with information on the stolen property is asked to call the NOPD or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

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