Man who turned in stolen West Homewood food trailer says he’s a victim too

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 12:25 AM CDT
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HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WBRC) - A follow up to the stolen food trailer out of West Homewood. WBRC previously reported on the stolen trailer and after our story aired, the truck was found more than 100 miles away in Georgia.

Melvin Bell says three people showed up to his house in Forest Park, Georgia with what he thought was a great deal, but it turned out it wasn’t. 

Bell is the owner of Ring the Bell Events. He said he was buying a new food trailer to expand his business.

“So, I went on Facebook Marketplace,” Bell said.

There he saw a post for a luxury food trailer for $11,500.

A text thread showed the initial exchange with the seller.

The seller gave Bell his name and number, but once they got on the phone, Bell said the seller offered him another, better trailer.

“He [the seller] said, ‘I didn’t post it yet. Let me send you some pictures’,” said Bell.

Bell said the pictures were of a 20ft, black food trailer. It was everything he was looking for. They agreed on a price and the seller was at Bell’s home in Forest Park, Georgia the next morning, he said.

Surveillance video captured the alleged suspect with the trailer at Bell’s home.

“He had paperwork showing me, matching up the fake title with the VIN number on the trailer,” Bell explained.

Trusting the paperwork was legitimate, Bell said he handed over $25,000 in cash.

“As we’re doing the paperwork he goes, ’oh, do you have a pen on you? I left the pen,” Bell recalled.

Bell said he went inside his home to get a pen and seconds later when returned the seller was on the move.

“He’s in his car basically pulling off... This man just took $25,000 from me,” Bell sighed.

The suspects left the trailer which had been stripped of the Battle Axe’s Feast logo.

Bell said he went through the trailer and found the business information of Drew Reece, the actual owner. He googled Reece and found our previous story about the stolen trailer.

From one business owner to another, Bell said he knew he had to do the right thing.

“I learned a lot. I guess lesson number one is never buy anything from Facebook market place again. I also learned who I really am. This showed me as much as I talk about good game, about what we should be doing out here in the community, I also can walk it,” Bell said.

Bell said he worked hard to save the money up, but he was glad Reece got his trailer back.

According to Homewood Police, the investigation is ongoing and no arrests had been made at the time this article was written.

Bell started a fundraiser to recoup the money he lost.

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