A vintage military vehicle was stolen from Central Coast Brewing’s Higuera Street location Wednesday night — only to be returned a few hours later.
“They put it back so well you wouldn’t know it was gone if you didn’t know it was gone,” George Peterson, owner of Central Coast Brewing, told The Tribune in a phone interview.
The vehicle, a 1970 military troop carrier, was stolen from the brewery’s parking lot at about 7:45 p.m., according to a Nextdoor post by the San Luis Obispo Police Department.
At about 2 a.m., an officer patrolling the area noticed that the vehicle had been returned, “abandoned and undamaged,” according to a separate Nextdoor post from the police department.
Police said they couldn’t see the suspect on surveillance video, and that whoever took the car would need to have experience with that type of vehicle “due to its unique starting sequence.”
“They took it while we were open and had a customer check the lights for them and then drove out and, six hours later, put it back where it was with the lights off,” Peterson said. “It’s not an easy truck to start, it’s not an easy truck to drive and figuring out the lights — especially without any knowledge — would be daunting, especially in the dark.”
Peterson said the truck has a starting issue, and doesn’t have power steering or power brakes.
“It’s not a jump-in-it-and-run,” he said.
Peterson said he bought the truck about 2 or 3 months ago, with the intention of refurbishing it to hold a pizza oven so the company can take it to events.
“We’re definitely going to do some work on it (the truck) today,” he said Thursday morning. “The Honda team will keep us from getting stolen again.”
Police ask anyone with information about the theft to contact Officer Greg Benson at 805-594-8059.