When you sell your car you expect it to maybe go to someone who’s just passed their driving test, maybe even a friend or family member, but definitely not to an extremist jihadi group thousands of miles away…
Unfortunately, for one man, this became a shocking reality. A Texan plumber said his life has been ruined after a photo of Isis fighters shooting an anti-aircraft gun from his former pickup truck, still displaying his company’s name and details went viral last year.
Mark Oberholtzer – owner of Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City – left the company stickers on the truck when he traded it in for a newer model back in October 2013 and what happened next is unbelievable.
Just a year later, the truck had somehow got into the hands of jihadis and a photo was posted on Twitter by another extremist group – Ansar al-Deen Front – from the front line in Syria.
Understandably, Oberholtzer is now seeking at least $1 million damages from the company that he traded in his car with – AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway – for a number of charges including fraud, gross negligence and defamation according to Courthouse News.
When he was trading his truck in he began peeling off the stickers, but a salesman stopped him, saying it ‘would blemish the vehicle paint’ and ‘the dealership had something better for removal’ he told a lawsuit in Harris County Court.
But this obviously never happened as his secretary called him in December last year to let him now that jihadi group member had tweeted a ‘propaganda photograph’ with a message saying, ‘using plumbing truck against regime in #Aleppo’.
It still remains unknown whether the photo is entirely authentic, but despite this he still received massive backlash from the community.
In his complaint, Oberholtzer stated that by the end of that day he received over 1,000 phone calls from around the nation to his office, business and personal phones, with threats of violence and even death.
To escape the brutal backlash, he had to flee with his family to McCallen- nearly 400 miles away. Oberholtzer said that the truck was sold in an auction in Texas in November 2013 and the following month it was shipped to Turkey from Houston.
After the photo went viral, he received vast media attention from national news agencies, but the FBI and Department of Homeland Security had to stop by his house to tell him ‘there are crazy people out there’ and that he should ‘protect himself’.
12 months on, Oberholtzer still receives threatening calls ‘whenever Isis commits an atrocity that is reported nationally’.