Reportedly, when Texas plumber Mark Oberholtzer sold his 2005 Ford F-250 Super Cab to a Houston Ford dealership, he never expected that he would subsequently see his truck being used by Islamic militants in Syria’s civil war:
So how did his truck end up in Syria? In October 2013, Oberholtzer took the truck to AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway in Houston, Texas to trade it in for a 2012 Ford F-250. Oberholtzer alleges that he initially intended to remove the “Mark-1 Plumbing” decal from the truck, but the salesman stopped him on the basis that removing the decals would damage the vehicle. The truck was then allegedly auctioned off in November 2013 and subsequently shipped from Houston to Mersin, Turkey. Approximately a year later, the above photo was tweeted by a contributor to the Long War Journal. Oberholtzer did not expect to see his truck again under those circumstances.
Nor did Oberholtzer expect to experience an apparent exception to the old adage that “any publicity is good publicity.” Apparently, in addition to the company name, the side of the truck bore Oberholtzer’s phone number on the door, including the area code. According to the lawsuit filed by Oberholtzer, on December 15, 2014, the day the plumbing truck photo was tweeted, “Oberholtzers’s cell phone, work phone and office phone had ‘received over 1,000 phone calls from around the nation.’” According to the complaint:
These phone calls were in large part harassing and contained countless threats of violence, property harm, injury and even death. These phone calls included, but were not limited to, individuals who were: (a) irate and yelling expletives at whomever answered the phone; (b) degrading to whomever answered the phone regarding their stupidity; (c) singing in Arabic for the duration of the phone call or voice message recording; (d) making threats of injury or death against Mark-1’s employees, family, children, and grandchildren in violent, lurid and grossly specific terms; and, (e) directing expletive-laced death threats to whomever answered the phone.
Oberholtzer allegedly shut down his business of Jet Plumbers for a period of time, and he has been visited by federal officials who have supposedly advised him to “protect himself.” When his truck was featured on the final episode of “The Colbert Report,” the harassment and threatening phone calls apparently reached a fever pitch.
Oberholtzer seeks $1,000.000.00 for invasion of privacy and appropriation of name.