FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – A trailer theft that occurred in the early morning hours of Friday, August 31 could be the end of a small business for one local man.
Video surveillance footage captured by the Buffalo Wild Wings on Maysville Road shows a truck driving the wrong way along the back of a strip mall around 2:22 a.m. Ten minutes later, the truck re-enters the video but with the addition of a white trailer.
The trailer was reported stolen by 27-year-old Jon-Paul Capito. It contained 11 inflatable units, blowers and other equipment that comprise his business. That business, Mr. Moonwalk, LLC, was created seven years ago so that Capito could support his family and also tackle his college debt. It was also created, Capito says, to provide families with low-cost entertainment options for birthday parties. Inflatable play places were things Capito says he could not afford as a child.
“Growing up, we as a family could never afford anything like this, so I wanted to make an affordable option for people out there to be able to rent these type of inflatables for their children’s birthday parties.”
Capito says they are also rented for church gatherings and corporate events. He says his business has grown to include a customer base of about 2,300 people.
The trailer, during the last three months, sat behind the strip mall on Maysville Road per an agreement with the landlord. Typically, the trailer was only used for transportation of inflatable playgrounds and storage of miscellaneous equipment like extension cords.
With the Labor Day weekend approaching and events planned through Monday, Captio decided to load his trailer with all of the elements of his business on Thursday, August 30. When he arrived Saturday morning to pick up his trailer, which had a hitch lock, it was gone. Capito initially thought it had been towed but quickly learned, as shown by surveillance footage, that it was stolen.
"We planned this accordingly, to be able to load up all of our units on Thursday evening, just making sure that we could have everything ready for Friday to go and came back on Saturday morning and our trailer was missing."
Capito says that in addition to the stress of trying to hunt down the trailer that contains his livelihood, it is also disheartening to call his customers to let them know that their parties will be missing key elements.
"You spend a lot of time, effort and money into growing a business from scratch over the last seven years. We have a customer base of over 2,300 people. I just feel really upset that we have to make those phone calls now to let people know that we have to postpone their event because of this kind of situation.”
Capito has a message for the culprits:
"If you can find it in your heart to just take those contents and put them somewhere, some random, remote location, feel free to contact the station anonymously and just leave a tip. That's all I ask. We will pick them up. No questions asked."
Tips can be emailed to the newsroom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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