ECTOR COUNTY, Texas (Nexstar) – Down an alleyway in Gardendale, between the streets of Azalea and Zinnia, lies a house covered by bushes, trees, and a fence. On Monday night, deputies swarmed it.
On the property, the Ector County Sheriff’s Office says a number of items were found stolen: an RV, a motorcycle, and a pickup truck. There was also a food truck, belonging to the business, “La Benedicion Burritos and More.”
“It’s just a horrifying feeling knowing everything you’ve worked for is gone,” said Cristal Salazar, of La Benedicion Burritos and More. “It was crazy. It all happened so fast.”
Cristal and her family were led to the house by an anonymous viewer’s tip. After calling 911, her family was able to confirm, their stolen food truck was there, at someone else’s house.
“I was like, ‘My God, it is, it is!” Salazar recounts.
Cristal says her family was at the suspect’s house for hours, leading into early Tuesday morning while deputies investigated.
“We weren’t going after the people,” Salazar said. “We were just going after our food truck. We just wanted the police to let us take our food truck home.”
One person was arrested. The Ector County Sheriff’s Office says Mindy Covey was charged with three state felonies and one felony in the third degree. All four charges were theft-related.
The reaction was sweet for a moment, for both Cristal and her mother, Maria. But then, they saw what had been done to their food truck. The inside was ransacked. The truck was painted over, from orange to white. The family is missing a generator ($800), their stove ($600), the cash register ($900), the refrigerator ($200), a commercial Ninja blender ($1,000), and a coffee pot ($60). That’s not including the damages to the exterior.
“Probably the only thing intact is our fire extinguishers,” Salazar said.
Maria Calderon, Cristal’s mother, says there is no justice because it’s unlikely the thief will pay for the damage. The family says they did not have insurance for the trailer because their budget was stretched thin. They say they had insurance that covered customers in the event of any accidents. But expensive startup costs forced them to make a difficult choice not to insure the trailer itself.
“There’s all kinds of emotions. You didn’t know to cry, to get mad, to be upset…” Salazar said. “I think right now, we’re just going to focus on getting this back together.”
While the family says it’s going to take them months to get back on their feet, there is a silver lining. They say they get the chance to restart and move on.
“…Our mom has always told us: if you love it, you do it. And don’t give up,” Salazar said.
You can support the family’s recovery by visiting their GoFundMe page here.