Authorities found three stolen classic VW buses belonging to the Tillamook Dairy Company in a storage locker in Copperopolis, California. The orange-colored buses, which have the words “Tillamook”, “Medium Cheddar Cheese”, and “Baby Loaf” written on their sides, were stolen about 50 miles away from the storage locker location. Authorities say that the criminals took the three vehicles from the Hampton Inn in Manteca using Tillamook’s Ford truck, which was connected to a trailer that carried the buses. The truck and trailer were found in Jamestown on Sunday with severe burns, but the three mini-buses weren’t discovered until Tuesday, after Tillamook offered a $10,000 reward.
Tillamook launched the Loaf Love Tour in 2010, hoping to expand their cheese beyond the Pacific Northwest, expand brand recognition, and generate media attention. The tour features 650 mobile tasting events in eight states.
At the heart of this tour was their 60s-style, customized VW mini-buses, which were altered to a “loaf-like” length of 10 feet to reflect their loaves of cheese. The buses are worth $300,000 each, and fortunately, did not appear damaged when authorities found them in the storage locker.
At the time of the cheese crime, the Tillamook buses were stopped to promote their cheese in Sacramento — also the location of the upcoming ACS Conference & Competition.
Update: Two men were arrested on suspicion of stealing the Tillamook minibuses, and are currently being held for investigation of auto theft, possession of stolen vehicles, conspiracy and arson.
Photo Credit: Associated Press