On their way to Florida, a Tennessee couple in the rodeo business stopped at a north Macon hotel Saturday night. The next morning, they awoke to find their truck and trailer had been stolen, according to an incident report from the Bibb County Sheriff's Office.
Bill Fitzgerald and his wife, both of Franklin, Tennessee, had been driving all day until about 10 p.m., when Fitzgerald pulled off Interstate 75 and drove to the Microtel Inn & Suites at 2020 Bowman Park.
"We just didn't have enough energy to go the rest of the way to Jacksonville," said Fitzgerald, who was towing about $15,000 worth of western decor in his 14-foot trailer hooked to the back of his Ford F350 truck. "We didn't know until the next morning when we got up to leave. ... We went out, and it was gone."
A hotel clerk told a deputy she didn't see the trailer when she arrived at 7 a.m. Sunday, according to the report. The night-shift clerk, who starts work at 11 p.m., also did not see the Fitzgerald's truck when arriving for work, the report said. The hotel's surveillance cameras were not recording at the time.
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The trailer was carrying luggage as well as items for a rodeo in Jacksonville, Florida. It held T-shirts, tables, hats, boots, "nothing that anybody would want other than us," Fitzgerald said. "We had to go buy all new clothes, everything."
The couple had stopped in Macon before but stayed at a hotel on the south side off Interstate 475.
"This time we stayed at a hotel that we felt like was in a littler better part of town. ... Last time we didn't have any trouble, and this time we did," Fitzgerald said, adding that he won't be returning to Macon. "I'll either stop before I get there or go on farther."
Other thefts of a similar nature have occurred in Bibb County over the past few months.
To contact writer Laura Corley, call 744-4334 or follow her on Twitter @Lauraecor.