NORTHEAST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – A South Florida chef and his girlfriend are reeling hours after, they said, they witnessed thieves driving away with their sole source of income: their food truck.
The overnight steal, just after midnight on Friday, has left Chef Bryan Rivas and his girlfriend, Andrea Larrotta, scrambling to find a solution.
“It hurts us. It hurts a lot, due to the fact that we’ve got to pay bills, especially during a pandemic, when people nowadays are hurting a lot,” said Rivas.
The chef said he and Larrotta were out on the balcony of their apartment, located along Northeast 202nd Street, off West Dixie Highway, in Northeast Miami-Dade, at the time of the incident.
Rivas said he bought the food truck, technically a trailer, at the start of the pandemic so he could make a living cooking up what he describes as exclusive cuisine.
“From Mediterranean cuisine, Indian cuisine, Latin cuisine and American cuisine,” he said.
That is, he said, until he stood on his balcony and watched a crime unfold.
“I see my truck slowly moving, and I glanced, and for a second, I just paused,” he said.
Rivas said he spotted a van towing the 16-foot trailer where he does his work.
Surveillance cameras at a nearby building captured a glimpse of the theft in action.
“Completely shocked. We didn’t think this was going to happen to us,” said Larrotta.
Rivas said he sometimes parks the trailer right outside his community along West Dixie Highway. This time, he was trying to prepare it for a big event in Wynwood this weekend.
Once they spotted the thief, the couple said they rushed to track the trailer down, but it was too late.
“I jumped in the car and just tried to chase the truck down, but the truck got away,” said Rivas.
The couple said they may have to cancel upcoming gigs until they figure out where to go from here.
“We’ve got to pay our house bills, our rent, water, food to survive,” said Rivas.
“We don’t have a backup plan, so that’s what makes it even worse,” said Larrotta. “It’s very, very hard.”
But the couple said they’re hopeful someone can spot the trailer and call police, so they can get back to work in their mobile kitchen.
Larrotta said she has a message for the thief.
“If you have any kind of remorse or any kind of conscience in you, please return the trailer back,” she said.
The couple said the trailer has a GPS unit, but it only pings once a day, so they are hoping that within the next 24 hours, they’ll have a better idea of its current location.
If you see the trailer or have any information on this theft, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.
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