Edinburg police nab alleged food truck thief with social media tips

Social media posts and detective work helped authorities track down a 37-year-old Edinburg man who is accused of stealing a food truck.

Police arrested Martin Flores on June 3 and charged him with theft of property, more than $30,000 but less than $150,000.

The investigation began on June 1 when Raul Ignacio Montano-Ortiz reported his food truck was missing from 3901 W. University Drive in Edinburg.

He told investigators that he left the food truck there on May 30, and that his trailer was secured with locks and chains, according to a probable cause affidavit.

“Mr. Montano will testify that when he returned to the property on June 1, 2020 at about 8:30 a.m. he noticed that his trailer was missing,” the affidavit stated.

His family posted the trailer on social media and someone messaged the poster that they found a trailer matching the description on Hoehn Road, north of Mile 17 1/2 Road, according to the charging documents, which says Montano passed the message onto Edinburg police.

“Det. (Daniel) Cantu will testify that he arrived at the location of the trailer and found it to be Mr. Montano’s trailer but everything was removed from the inside of it,” the probable cause affidavit stated.

Montano then received another message on social media that showed a gray Ford F250 with cooking equipment in it, according to police.

“Mr. Montano will testify that he recognized a table in that picture to be his due to it was custom made and the message was passed on to Det. Cantu,” the probable cause affidavit stated.

Investigators tracked the plates, which returned to 1432 Denver St., where authorities found some of the items that were removed from the trailer, according to the charging document.

Investigators made contact with Flores who implicated himself in the theft, police say.

The rest of the items from the food truck were found at the dead end of Rio Grande Care Road in Edinburg, the probable cause affidavit stated.

Those items were recovered.

Flores remains jailed on $55,000 in bonds.

He received a $50,000 bond on his latest charge.

The remaining bonds pertain to two previous theft charges and a possession of a controlled substance charge.

Court records indicate Flores has a criminal history dating back to 2001 and has been charged in numerous theft cases.