A Franklin resident helping his ill sister in Columbus was shocked to find the doors stolen off his red 1994 Ford F250 XL Tuesday morning, a theft that caused him to miss work.
When Steven Hunter told his daughter the doors to the truck were stolen, her reaction was understandable.
“She told me: ‘Daddy, you’re down here to help someone in need, and look what people do?’” Hunter said.
After the death of his ex-wife a year ago, the 54-year-old moved back to south-central Indiana to assist members of his family.
Three nights a week, the maintenance supervisor at the Holiday Inn Express in Taylorsville spends the night at the Applegate Apartments on the east side of Columbus to perform chores for his older, disabled sister who is battling cancer.
Occasionally, his sister’s deteriorating condition forces Hunter to take her in the truck to Columbus Regional Hospital for emergency treatment.
So when he walked out to the truck at 7 a.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Taylor Road and Waycross Drive, he was dumbfounded and angry that the truck doors had been stolen.
“It’s just sickening that someone would do that,” Hunter said.
The truck’s interior dome light was broken, Hunter said. The vehicle was parked on the apartment complex’s far west side in full view of traffic moving along busy Taylor Road.
But the more he examined the truck, the less he understood about why the doors were stolen.
Power tools were still in the truck bed. A new stereo system recently installed remained untouched. A walkie-talkie was right where he had left it, tucked away in the glove compartment.
“The first thing that entered my mind was that it was a practical joke,” Hunter said. “But my buddies know why I’m here, and they wouldn’t do something like that.”
After Columbus police officers finished their investigation, Hunter called scrap metal dealers and junk yards who told him the doors have little to no salvage value, he said.
When asked whether he might have enemies, Hunter explained his involvement in charity work, as well as his practice of giving significant discounts to the elderly for performing freelance home repairs.
“People tell me I’m the most easy-going, nicest guy they’ve ever met,” Hunter said. “If I have an enemy, I’m not aware of it.”
Hunter said the only motive that made sense to him is that the thieves have a similar type of truck that needed doors.
The last time the Franklin resident saw his pickup intact was at 10:30 p.m. Monday, when he drove it to buy his sister a candy bar, he said.
The vehicle was locked, with the windows rolled up after that errand, he said. However, a broken tab on a side window would have allowed someone to push the window open, reach in, and unlock the truck, he said.
Hunter canvassed the neighborhood as far north as 25th Street and as far south as Four Seasons Retirement Center to find out if anyone had information about the theft.