Texas Plumber Wants $1M After Jihadists Get His Truck

Mark Oberholtzer says his business has been ruined
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2015 7:22 AM CST

(Newser) – The Texas plumber whose truck infamously ended up in the hands of jihdists is suing a car dealership for more than $1 million, the Houston Chronicle reports. At issue: the dealership’s failure to remove a decal bearing the name and phone number of the Texas City man's business, which he says destroyed his livelihood and resulted in ongoing "shock, fear, anxiety, mental anguish, humiliation, and degradation" after a photo of his truck in Syria was widely circulated. In the suit filed last week, Mark Oberholtzer of Mark-1 Plumbing claims that, as he traded in the 2005 Ford F-250 in October 2013, he began to remove the decal, but a salesman said to "let them handle it." The suit traces the pickup's journey from a local auto auction to Mersin, Turkey. At some point, it entered Syria, as evidenced by a photo of the vehicle in Aleppo tweeted last December by an Ansar al-Deen militant.

The photo showed the truck, now outfitted with an anti-aircraft weapon, with "plaintiffs' logo and phone number … still on the vehicle door," the suit says. Further, that photo reached millions of people through social media and TV (the final episode of the Colbert Report, for one). On Dec. 17, 2014, the suit says, Oberholtzer’s business and personal phones received more than 1,000 calls from people who variously yelled expletives, sang in Arabic, and made "threats of injury or death." In his suit, Oberholtzer alleges that AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway admitted to having "never touched the truck"; said removing the decal wasn't its responsibility; and hung up on him. Oberholtzer, per Courthouse News, continues to get phone threats "whenever ISIS commits an atrocity that is reported nationally." (ISIS somehow keeps getting this particular kind of pickup truck.)

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