Texas Plumber’s Used Truck Ends Up In Syria Being Driven By Islamist Fighters

Texas Syria

A truck that used to belong to a small Texas plumbing company has been spotted in Syria in the hands of anti-Assad Islamist:

TEXAS CITY — A local plumber is being flooded with phone calls — and some threats — 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 pick-up 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.”

It’s not unusual for some used cars from the United States to end up in the overseas market, but this one is certainly something of a puzzle. Whether or not it indicates something nefarious — not on the part of the plumbing company or the auto dealer, of course, but on the part of whomever the car ends up being sold to before it goes overseas — would be purely speculative at this point but it certainly is odd.

In the meantime, I’m sure Oberholtzer will be remembering to remove those stickers himself from now on.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Ron Beasley says:

    Several decades ago I was a manger for Avis rent a car. The FBI cane to me and told me the good news is we found your missing car – the bad news is it’s now part of the fleet of the the Mexico City police department.

  2. argon says:

    The stickers are nothing. He should’ve removed antiaircraft gun from the bed of his truck before selling it.

  3. John Peabody says:

    “We blow the competition away!!”

  4. Franklin says:

    Sewer? Sue everybody!

  5. JWH says:

    @argon: I guess it was the Complaints Truck.

  6. Tyrell says:

    They probably built that gun from spare plumbing parts – pipe, fittings, solder, faucet stems, and p-traps. That would be a good show for “This Old House”.

  7. Steve Z says:

    All publicity is good publicity?? 😉