Plumber's truck goes into battle

Texas City plumber Mark Oberholtzer has been bombarded with calls, some hostile, since a truck he traded in at AutoNation was shown being used as a gun platform in Syria.

TEXAS CITY — A local plumber was flooded with phone calls — some threatening — after a picture of one of his old company vehicles being used by Islamist militants in Syria was posted on Twitter.

The picture was posted online by the Islamic extremist brigade Ansar al-Deen Front, according to a CBS News report. It shows a black pickup truck with a Mark-1 Plumbing decal on the door and an anti-aircraft gun in the bed.

Mark Oberholtzer, who has owned and operated Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City for the past 32 years, confirmed it was his pickup truck in the picture. He said he no longer owned the vehicle and had no idea how it ended up in Syria.

Oberholtzer said he traded in the truck to an AutoNation dealership three years ago. He usually takes the decals off his vehicles when he sells them, but he left it on this truck with the expectation that AutoNation would remove it.

“They were supposed to have done it and it looks like they didn’t do it,” Oberholtzer said. “How it ended up in Syria, I’ll never know.”

A spokesperson for AutoNation said the company passed Oberholtzer’s vehicle on to Adesa Auto Auction. The auction company took title of the vehicle, Marc Cannon, a spokesperson for AutoNation, said.

“We were nothing but the pass-through,” Cannon said.

If the vehicle had been intended to be part of AutoNation’s inventory, the company would have stripped any decals or signs off it, he said. But when a vehicle is passed on to a wholesaler it is their responsibility — or the future buyer — to clean the vehicle of signs, he said.

A representative with Adesa Auto Auction did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Oberholtzer began receiving calls about the truck and the picture on Monday afternoon, he said. He said his business had received a thousand calls and faxes about the image on Tuesday.

“A few of the people are really ugly,” he said.

By Tuesday afternoon Oberholtzer said federal Homeland Security officials had arrived at his business and were questioning his staff.

Oberholtzer said he didn’t know what to do about all the attention he was getting from the picture. He just wanted the public to know that the vehicle was no longer his.

“I just want it to go away, to tell you the truth,” he said.


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(41) comments

billy goodman

If he traded the truck in 3 years ago why do the state inspection and registration say 2014 in the pic?

carls jr

because its a fake photo. that guys truck is not in Syria

Jake Linkey

If truck was purchased in the last year from the Houston based auto company or from a private sale, it would have been inspected, then it could have been shipped overseas.

billy goodman

The article said is was sold 3 years ago

Donnie Broussard

It was sold to autonation 3 years ago. It dosn't say when it was auctioned off. Autonation would have to keep the tags up-to-date. But why would they leave the decals on it still? I guess now we should put a decal of a big red target on the roof before you sale it, or 'eat more pork' on the side. And also, there is a ship that takes used vehicles out of Galveston to the middle east to sale. One outcome would be for the people of Galveston county to protest that ship coming here and taking vehicles to support the terrorist. Let them go to some other port to get the vehicles!

Shawn Noble

I bet some people in washington will be back tracking that sale to every hand it went through.

carls jr

fail. the sale never happened and why would washington be involved at all?


As far as Registration and Inspection sticker dates.. Those would have been furnished by Autonation upon resale

Doyle Beard

buyer would have to pay forregistration unless put in price and did not tell anyone.

Ann Derek

My first thought was to report this to the federal government, but then I remembered who's in charge up there & realized it wouldn't make any difference.

Stevie Maradeo

This will forever be an example of the importance of removing decals before selling your vehicle. I don't think the truck could've ended up in any worse scenario.

This picture will make great ads for his competitors though!

Chris Gimenez

My thought exactly. Hard to understand why they'd sell that truck to anyone without removing their business logo and name first.

Carlos Ponce

ISIS has seized over 2,500 armored vehicles, including tanks and Humvees, from captured bases of the Iraqi Army and in the city of Mosul all American made. Do you think they will remove labels and decals stating these were MADE IN THE USA whom they consider the great Satan?


Heads up. They had these attack vehicles BEFORE they got into Iraq. They had these vehicles when ISIS were "U.S. supplied rebels" in Syria. They got these weapons from NATO.

PD Hyatt

Once a vehicle is sold to a car dealer and it hits the auction block where it goes after that is NOT the concern of the TC plumbing company. There are many things going on in Washington D.C. that this paper refuses to cover and yet they cover and blow up a story such as this!

Donnie Broussard

I believe the owner of the truck went to the paper about it to get the truth out about the story. And it's not only in this paper, but other local and national news papers and media. And what stories are they refusing to cover, one that you find on a 'take back america' website that they have the only story on and they don't understand why the main stream media is not covering it? It could be because the stories your reading are not true, and of course a legitimate newspaper or media will not report a false story that has no true facts to back it up.

TJ Aulds Staff
TJ Aulds

Mr Hyatt, sorry you miss out on our National news coverage. Here is the link for daily coverage of national issues.

George Croix

Is there a story in here somewhere....?

Martin Cohn

Mohamed will be right over to punch a hole in that blocked drain for you sir.

Kim Connell

This just too funny........[beam]

Leonard T. Payne

It appears to still be a plumbing truck, it has some turds in it.

Lard Heppus

I bet that AA gun is great on clogged pipes.

carls jr

the picture is a photoshop. as in not real but a very cruel joke.

Donnie Broussard

Um no, it's not a photoshop. You may be looking at one that's a photoshop. I noticed a post on cbs of the pic and they took the business name and # off, which is what all of them should be doing. And yes, they ship vehicles out of Galveston to take to the middle-east to sale. Thats the current vehicle business that the port of galveston has, but they will soon be having BMW start bringing new vehicles into the port. The owners of the ship that sends them to the middle-east buys vehicles at auctions and ships them from Galveston. If people start getting loud enough and protesting to the port of galveston about them doing it, then maybe they will boot them from the port! The port has unintentionally supported terrorist in Syria, and it shouldn't have happen to begin with!

Ispray Betternyou

completely different truck. Video is a Toyota, this guys truck is a Ford. Are you really that ignorant and stupid?


Carlsjr, the picture is not photo shopped. Apparently, you need to pay more attention to detail Sir!

Here are the differences in your video and the picture posted of Mark 1 Plumbing's (M1P) former truck!! Pay attention!

12 casings on the ground in the video/ 8 in the M1P picture.
The muzzle flash is completely different indicating a different weapon. (Ambush Recognition)
The weapons armor in your video is completely different, look at the side armor in the picture, the weapon in the video does not have side armor.
The two men are not the same, different build, different clothing etc.

What would be the motive for these guys to photo shop the truck? Do they not freely roam the countries of Iraq and Syria killing and beheading innocent people in broad daylight? Do they not drive around in abandoned US military vehicles and armored vehicles in the open? My point is why would they need to hide or conceal any vehicle they drive with a M1P, truck?

I will agree the picture and video were taken in the same place.

What makes you think ISIS or whoever their source is here in the states making these purchases for them couldn't have also bought M1P's truck along with that Toyota? I assure you if agents of the federal government are out talking to M1P they aren't there to discuss a photo shopped picture of a truck. Lastly, the Oberholtzer's are great people and anyone questioning their character or integrity over this is a fool.
Mike Matranga

Dusty Whiffle

Awfully odd looking pixels there where the name has been placed on the truck, as well as the number and the inspection sticker.

My guess is it's a fake and a fraud.

Booger Brown

More blatant in your face proof that the US Government is funding ISIS the child and women slaughterers.


You are correct sir. It has been noted on alternative news blogs that some of the initial ISIS attack vehicles were previously used by U.S. Special Forces in Iraq and that news article was complete with photographs to show they were indeed U.S. made in Texas for U.S. Special Forces, and they "somehow" ended up in the hands of ISIS along with U.S. made machine guns, etc.

The questions I've been asking this whole time is, HOW do you think an ARMY gets enough firepower, food, medical supplies and intelligence information to conquer most of Iraq in a matter of months???? Anyone? Bueller?

Folks, ISIS is a NATO-run opposition force to justify more war in the Middle East. We are creating our own "Bad Guys" to fight against and the mainstream media won't even touch the topic even though all it takes is COMMON SENSE to figure out that some extremely rich nation (or nations) would have to have funded and equipped ISIS in order for them to be strong enough to do these things.

Karina Frenkel

More blatant in your face proof ....that you are an uninformed fool. Thousands of used cars are legally exported into Iraq and Syria by private individuals, usually by immigrants that have some connections back home who can relatively safely resell the used car to make 300$. You have no idea how ISIS got this truck or who they murdered for it. Your assumption that US gov, buys used trucks at AutoNation and supplies them to ISIS as absurd as your mental state.

Kenneth Hamilton

Can we now no longer dispute the fact that ISIS is set up, funded and directed by the US to cause instability in the region? This is absolute proof!

Karina Frenkel

This is absolute proof!....that you are an uninformed fool. Thousands of used cars are legally exported into Iraq and Syria by private individuals, usually by immigrants that have some connections back home who can relatively safely resell the used car to make 300$. You have no idea how ISIS got this truck or who they murdered for it. Your assumption that US gov, buys used trucks at AutoNation and supplies them to ISIS as absurd as your mental state.

George Croix

Uh, didn't the U.S. leave about a zillion tons of military gear in Iraq when POTUS decided he was smarted than his Generals and pulled us out of there.....before he sent us back.....after declaring ISIS to be the 'JV', then watching them capture all that gear he'd left, then watching them slaughtering the people he'd left up a smelly creek without a paddle? Why, yes, I believe that's so.
We didn't 'give' or 'finance' squate for ISIS directly. They got it at a garage sale featuring items abandoned by a leftist ideologue narcissist, who was too busy golfing, campaigning, fund raising, and hard blowing to be bothered with any of it.
Whump, whump, whumpo, whump.......that sound....the black helicopters are coming......

Karina Frenkel

Its a eye opening site for any psychology student to read these posts, where low information individuals profess speculations of how the truck ended up in the hands of ISIS and the evil forces involved. All are worth of a PHD paper on Schizoid personality disorder. Affected individuals demonstrate a rich, elaborate and exclusively internal fantasy world.

Thousands of used cars are legally exported into Iraq and Syria by private individuals, usually by immigrants that have some connections back home who can relatively safely resell the used car to make 300$. You have no idea how ISIS got this truck or who they murdered for it. Your assumption that US gov, buys used trucks at AutoNation and supplies them to ISIS as absurd as your mental state


Hey CitizenR, please do some research online before you open your mouth about people being crazy. There is ample proof that ISIS was created by NATO and the U.S. through supplying weapons to Syrian troops as far back as 2012. You would do well to actually investigate the facts yourself rather than accuse people of Schoizoid Personality Disorder. I assure you. There is nothing wrong with my mental state or my ability to process information and understand what's going on in the world. I, however DO highly question your motives and you lack of google skills.

earl maura

I think Mark Oberholtzer needs to jump on this publicity bonanza!

Got root problems? Get nervous when too many guests come over?
Don't worry! With the season upon us the folks at Mark 1 will be on it! So after uncle Joe comes and then goes..don't get out the pro's...Mark 1...Tx City.

Richard Olson Jr

This really sucks. Sorry to hear about this Mark. I think most people get it that you had no hand in this truck ending up in Syria. Tough break, man.

Philip Tripp

I'd sure like to hear who AutoNation sold the truck to...

Andy Aycoth

Really think this is silly, who cares if this truck has Mark 1 or BP on the side of the truck.


Once again the Dept of Homeland Security is clueless. You would think they would be questioning the owners of the Auto Auction the vehicle was liquidated through and the people who purchased it. I doubt it was the only vehicle that was purchased. Isn't it great to know that our government is so clueless and hapless that we let terrorists purchase vehicles here and ship them half way around the world by the presumable boat load to be used against our allies and potentially against our own troops?


When my brother was in Iraq, the came across a Hyundai with New Jersey inspection stickers on it. It happens.

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