A Spokane Valley coffee truck that’s become an “irreplaceable” part of a local couple’s business was stolen Wednesday morning and recovered that afternoon in North Idaho.
Alicia Thompson, who owns Swell Coffee with her husband, Shane, said she opened the coffee stand, 14505 E. Trent Ave., Wednesday morning and worked for about 3½ hours before she noticed at around 7:45 a.m. their 1979 Ford Econoline was missing.
She said the tan and seafoam-green truck is often parked inside their roastery, but it was parked between the roastery and the coffee stand before it was taken. She said she is unsure how the person accessed the vehicle.
“This is not a truck that you can be incognito with … you can’t hide it very well,” Alicia Thompson said.
“So, I’m like, ‘If someone is driving it, it will be found.’ ”
One man told the couple he saw the truck heading east on Interstate 90 around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday before it took an exit near the state line.
Shane Thompson said he hopped on his motorcycle around 11:30 a.m. and headed east, taking every road and chatting with every person he could to gather information about the potential whereabouts of the truck.
He said he then got word that a driver spotted the truck on the side of the interstate near Wallace late Wednesday afternoon. The vehicle had run out of fuel, Alicia Thompson said.
Shane Thompson said he did not know if it was his coffee truck that was on the side of the road or the condition of it, but he rode east from Post Falls anyway.
“I didn’t even hesitate,” he said.
Shane Thompson said he passed Wallace and saw the coffee truck on a flatbed truck traveling in the opposite direction.
“I just rejoiced,” he said.
He said he took the next exit and headed west, following the towed coffee truck to Smelterville, Idaho.
KHQ-TV reported Idaho State Police pursued the truck on the interstate until the driver jumped out of the moving vehicle and ran into the woods. KHQ reported the suspect was arrested in Mullan, Idaho. Idaho State Police and the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The truck, which Alicia Thompson estimated is worth from $50,000 to $60,000 including the coffee equipment inside, is in one piece with some damage.
Shane Thompson returned to Smelterville on Thursday afternoon to retrieve the truck.
“We’re just thankful that we’re gonna get it back,” Alicia Thompson said.
Shane Thompson said there is some paint damage and body damage, including a broken headlight. He said police discovered a motorcycle, which was not there before, shoved inside the coffee truck.
The Thompsons credited their “amazing community” for finding the truck.
“There’s really one message that’s really clear, is that we have each other’s back in our city,” Shane Thompson said.
He said he is glad no one was hurt, and “extremely relieved” the truck was found in one piece.
The Thompsons started Swell Coffee in September 2018 at 1604 S. Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley. They opened another stand at the Trent location.
The coffee truck, which they’ve used for a little over two years, serves almost as a third stand when they take it to events, Alicia Thompson said. She said they’ve used the truck frequently in the last year.
“It’s actually been really cool to see the growth of it,” Alicia Thompson said.
Shane Thompson said the truck is a huge part of their business, adding they have numerous commitments to customers they want to keep that involve the truck.
“It’s irreplaceable,” he said. “It would have set our business back tremendously if we had lost it.”
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