Discovery of stolen food truck leads to other missing food trucks

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A stolen Albuquerque food truck is no longer missing. One woman saw the KOB 4 story on it, and then saw it basically in the middle of nowhere – in a different county.

Her tip led law enforcement to find a chop shop with multiple stolen vehicles, including other food trucks.

“There were lots of vehicles in various states of being taken apart,” said James Nance with the Socorro County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said of the many vehicles – seven officially listed as stolen – some were food trucks that someone had completely stripped down. The owners are in Albuquerque, Belen, and Rio Rancho.

They also found another surprise.

“A trailer with a hot air balloon in it,” Nance said. “The basket and the balloon itself. Of course, we hadn’t encountered anything like that before stolen.”

Longtime Rainbow Ryders Pilot Troy Bradley confirmed that the balloon flew during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. It was stolen in May, in Albuquerque.

Deputies said they arrested 64-year-old Jerry Sedillo, who was living at the chop shop in a stolen camper trailer. Sedillo has a criminal history that includes violent charges going back to the ’80s.

Nance believes that Sedillo wasn’t acting alone.

“I think there are others out there,” Nance said. “It’s pure speculation, but I think he was the caretaker of the area.”

The discovery is certainly good news for Damien La Riva, who will get his food truck back. He’s been serving up meals for more than eight years, and it’s his main source of income.

La Riva said the truck was stolen right from his own driveway.

“It was definitely devastating,” La Riva said.”I hope some other people can recover their stuff as well.”

Socorro County deputies said they’re in the process of contacting the other owners. They said there are chop shops in the county, but rarely on a scale this large. This operation could have been going on for months.