Crime & Courts

Newlywed could only afford a moped to get to work at Walmart. Then someone stole it.

The family of newlyweds Caleb and Erica Smith of Gastonia hope to raise money for a moped for the couple, after thieves stole the one Caleb parked outside a Walmart where he works as an overnight stocker.
The family of newlyweds Caleb and Erica Smith of Gastonia hope to raise money for a moped for the couple, after thieves stole the one Caleb parked outside a Walmart where he works as an overnight stocker. Courtesy of Caleb Smith

Caleb Smith was working the overnight shift as a stocker at a Walmart in Gastonia, NC, when thieves stole the moped he relied on to get to work.

Smith and his wife, Erica, are newlyweds with a bank account of minus-$2.75, Caleb Smith told The Charlotte Observer in a phone interview on Tuesday.

“My bills take all of my money,” the 22-year-old Smith told the Observer.

The Gaston Gazette first reported about the theft on Tuesday.

Before he bought the moped a little over a month ago, Caleb Smith told the Observer, he walked the 3 miles from his home in the Pines Mobile Home Park off U.S. 321 South to the Walmart in west Gastonia. He works the 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. third shift.

“I was finally getting things turned around, and this happened,” Caleb Smith said of his moped being stolen.

Walmart video footage showed two men jumping from a truck at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday, lifting the moped and driving off with it in their truck, he said. Walmart’s store manager on Tuesday night referred questions about the theft to the company’s corporate communications office, which could not immediately be reached.

A Gastonia Police Department report lists the value of Smith’s moped at $1,200.

Caleb Smith said his insurance policy doesn’t cover the loss of the moped.

The Observer called the Gastonia Police Department on Tuesday night requesting more details about the case and was told the officer who took Smith’s report was out of the office until Wednesday.

Smith’s mother, Telenia Smith, started a GoFundMe page on Tuesday afternoon to raise $1,000 for a new moped for her son.

On the GoFundMe site, Telenia Smith describes her son as “ambitious and hard working.”

“He got married and recently got his own place and a good job,” Telenia Smith says on the site. “With his health, he’s struggled to get work. He has epilepsy and seizures and migraines and other health issues.”

“He is the type of person who if it’s raining he will start an elderly person’s car and open their door ... carry their groceries,” Telenia Smith said on the GoFundMe site. “He has gave homeless people his lunch money to eat on.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak

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