DONNA — Some might say Ken Mol was fortunate to recover his truck after it was stolen from outside the Walmart in Weslaco two weeks ago.
He would give it away if only he could find what was left inside.
“I don’t think he’d come out of the truck himself, they’d have to pull him out,” Mol said.
Since U.S. Border Patrol agents found his truck Jan. 28, Mol and his wife, Tina, have been looking for Hogan, their Labrador-Shepherd mix dog.
Almost 6 years old, the canine was resting in the extended cab of Mol’s 2005 Ford F-250 pickup truck when drug smugglers stole it from the Walmart parking lot.
Mol, a 63-year-old retired auto worker from Ontario, Canada, said he never expected the cross-border flow of narcotics to directly affect him. It’s the first year he has wintered in the Rio Grande Valley with his wife; they’d only gone to Florida before.
“I suppose, you know, it’s next to the border and bad things are happening,” Mol said. “But why would they target me?”
Weslaco police spokesman Danny Elizondo said Mol’s story is not uncommon. Drug smugglers commonly target trucks like Mol’s either to haul loads across the Rio Grande or to sell in Mexico. Losing a dog during an auto theft is less typical, though.
“They steal them to take across, bring the load over and dump the truck somewhere,” Elizondo said. “Other times they steal them and take them into Mexico.”
Mol said he was surprised to learn his truck was recovered, mostly. When he picked it up from Weslaco police, he said he didn’t have to show any ID and drove off without signing any paperwork.
In the day his truck was missing, the thieves painted the rear windows black and took most of the valuables from inside. Traces of mud were inside the back, likely from marijuana bundles, police said.
But what happened to his dog remains a mystery.
“He is an inside dog,” Mol said. “He is my buddy.”
Since Hogan went missing, Mol has spent time driving up and down Farm-to-Market Road 88 and Salinas Boulevard, south of Donna, where Border Patrol found the truck after a chase.
“I don’t really care about the truck,” Mol said. “I just want Hogan back.”
Jared Taylor covers courts, law enforcement and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4439.