Tampa food truck resumes operations after robbery thanks to community donations
TAMPA, Fla – The owners of a Tampa pizza business are back in business thanks in part to their West Tampa community.
Mirco Falcone has spent decades perfecting his wood-fired pizza recipe in his home country of Italy, while remaining focused on pursuing the American dream.
“I can work hard, work two years, three years, then save the money and start with this little trailer,” Falcone said. “With this little trailer, buy another, a third, you know, and grow my business.”
But before those expansion plans take off, the coronavirus has struck, crippling Pizzeataly, located on West Hillsborough Avenue.
Falcone and his wife have spent most of their lives trying to stay afloat.
Then, in mid-November, someone stole their food truck.
The theft remains an active investigation with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s horrible, horrible,” Falcone said. “When you work hard for years, no days off for years, work 12 hours a day.”
ABC Action News has learned that trailer thefts are on the rise in Hillsborough County.
The sheriff’s office said 70 trailers were reportedly stolen between January and April of this year, a 35% increase from the same period in 2020.
“I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that 5% of our sales go to customers who just lost a trailer to theft,” said Michael Gatewood, owner of Bigfoot Trailers at Mulberry.
Gatewood says the recent increase in the number of stolen trailers may be linked to low supply and manufacturing delays.
“The biggest manufacturers that serve the Florida dealerships tell their dealers that they can’t get a trailer for six months or nine months from the time they order it, so there is very little inventory there. , people can’t get what They want. “
MPs are urging all trailer owners to use a hitch lock or wheel boot to help prevent theft.
Gatewood also recommends that owners mark their trailers in a hidden area, such as under the frame, so that it is easier to identify them if they are stolen.
“We’re actually soldering a number onto the frame that isn’t tied to the VIN and that way the thieves don’t think there’s a reason to take it off.”
Back at Pizzeataly, the activity has more than doubled since it reopened this year.
Loyal customers and outsiders in the West Tampa community have donated thousands of dollars to help Falcone and his family purchase a new food truck.
Thanks to this support, Falcone will soon be expanding to three food trucks that will offer its authentic Italian pizzas, pasta and ice cream.