North Carolina authorities have launched an investigation into a stolen 18-wheeler that was reportedly carrying nearly 18,000 pounds of toilet paper.
The Associated Press reports that Guilford County Sheriff's officers discovered the cargo Wednesday, after they spotted the semi-trailer truck traveling on Interstate 40 in Whitsett, just east of Greensboro. Officers reportedly followed the truck to a warehouse off the highway and quickly determined the vehicle was stolen. It's unclear why authorities pursued the truck in the first place.
"After further investigation, it was determined the 53' foot Hyundai dry-van trailer was reported stolen locally and was being utilized to transport nearly 18,000 pounds of commercial, bathroom paper products ..." the sheriff's office wrote in a statement. "The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made at this time."
Capt. Daryl Loftis told the AP that the products were "legitimate cargo going to a legitimate place." He said his officers made sure the items were delivered to their final destination—a business in Greensboro that he could not immediately name. Loftis went on to say that the driver is suspected in the theft of the truck, but would not release the driver's name as the issue of toilet paper supply is "fairly sensitive right now."
The coronavirus pandemic has set off a wave of panic buying, prompting many residents to rush to their local grocery stores to stock up on essentials. Bottled water, non-perishable food, batteries, and cleaning supplies are some of the most popular and practical items that appear on crisis shopping lists; however, it seems the most in-demand product during the pandemic has become toilet paper, strangely enough.
Not only have people been hoarding rolls, some have even gone so far as to steal them. Earlier this week, it was reported that a Florida man was arrested for allegedly swiping 66 TP rolls from an Orlando hotel. He was charged with a felony count of theft from a public lodging establishment.