When Peter Baron found out one of his transporters was stolen last month, he feared the worst.
The Starworks Motorsport team owner took to social media in an effort to find the truck and rig after it had been snatched outside of the team’s shop in Fort Lauderdale overnight.
“I was pretty devastated that it was gone,” Baron told Sportscar365.
“We were optimistic we’d find the trailer but in what condition? But it was going to be a financial nightmare if we didn’t find the transporter.”
After filing a report with the police and making a trip to his insurance company, Baron received a tip from a Twitter follower on the transporter’s location, less than 24 hours after its theft.
“I was driving home leaving the [insurance company] at 6:30 p.m. and while stopped at a red light, someone on Twitter asked me if there was a reward,” he said.
“I said, ‘Absolutely.’ He sent me a phone number and we had a 20-minute conversation trying to locate exactly where it was.
“He gave me a rough 2-3 mile grid in the area where Miami meets the Everglades.
“I alerted the authorities down there and started searching around. Within about an hour, I found it in a dirt alley, abandoned.”
While both the truck and trailer were intact, Baron estimates more than $40,000 of theft and damage was sustained, from stolen hand tools, racing shocks and laptops to torn out speakers and broken cabinets inside.
The thieves also took the tires and rims off the truck and transporter, but thanks in part to an IMSA partner, the rig is back on the road and safely in Sebring paddock this weekend.
“Continental got wind of it,” Baron said. “Sheri [Herrmann, communications coordinator] and the people at Continental helped us out.
“We sent them a list of the tires we needed and they made sure we were covered. They shipped them right to our local dealer.
“They were really proactive in helping out a team in need. They were a massive help and a huge thanks to them.”
Baron said he’s thankful for the support of Continental, via its Commercial Vehicle Tire (CVT) division, as well as the huge outpouring of support — largely on social media — for helping locate the stolen rig.
“It could have been way worse,” he said. “The police told us to forget about the truck because it would most likely be gone and stripped for parts.
“But it was there. I found it lights on. It wasn’t running but I was stunned as heck to see it. They took everything out of the [trailer] but they left everything in the truck.”
And for that, Baron is grateful and to be back at full capacity this weekend at Sebring, with both of his transporters, now outfitted with GPS trackers.