It was a case of a determined truck owner, a tuned-in Facebook community, and the dogged determination of a legendary stolen car finder, working together to locate the truck that belonged to Mark Skibinski today.
It was also a case of Floyd Hall, the car finder, not accepting a plea deal earlier this year, in a case that landed him in court … but we’ll get to that.
Skibinski’s truck, a black Ford F-150, went missing on a dark and foggy Monday morning, along with a trailer and a jet ski. The trailer and jet ski were abandoned near by, but the truck was out there somewhere.
Skibinski and his fiancé Deantha Crockett took to Facebook and put out the word.
“Please keep an eye out for our truck with jet ski on trailer hooked up to it, stolen from in front of our house early this morning. Black F-150 with veteran license plate VED302. APD has a file, or you can direct message me,” Crockett wrote. Sibinski posted photos and a description, and the Facebook community started waking up.
That’s when radio talk show host Dave Stieren pinged Hall on Facebook.
Then it was spotted at a pot shop, “House of Green,” whose owners released video to Facebook of the guy believed to be driving the truck.
Soon, someone watching the Facebook updates saw the truck driving around Spenard at a high rate of speed. There was a brief chase by a civilian, but police advised to not chase, so the truck’s whereabouts was again in question.
Floyd Hall, seeing the photos, knew the man from Facebook: Mario G. He direct-messaged him on Facebook Messenger with the photos of him, the photos of the truck, and some warnings about who his boyfriend might be in jail (“Big Joe”).
Soon, a friend of the alleged thief notified Hall that the truck had been abandoned at the Southside Target store parking lot. Hall headed to the location as soon as he knew police were on site.
None of this would have been possible, Hall said, had he signed a plea agreement this year with city prosecutors which would have required him to have “no contact” with criminals.
By turning up the heat on the thief on social media, the truck was secured two hours after Hall got involved and started making the truck too hot for the thief to handle.
Whether the man who had been spotted with the truck was the actual thief is an issue for the police to solve. But for now, the Air Force pilot who is the truck’s rightful owner has his ride, his trailer, and his jet ski back, all in one morning.
And Floyd Hall has chalked up another win for the good guys. Hall has recovered hundreds of vehicles for Anchorage residents with help of an ever-growing network of citizens and his core team that he calls the A Team.
Those who wish to help Hall with gas money can do so at his Wells Fargo account # 8217848491