By Peter D'Oench

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A veteran commissioner, who used to be a detective, is working very closely with Miami-Dade police to find a stolen truck that’s used to clean up the county.

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The 2001 white Dodge Ram is emblazoned with Joe Martinez’s name as well as the county emblem and markings.

“Whoever stole it, it’s got to be a gang initiation or for parts on the truck. It has a county logo on it. It has Commissioner Joe Martinez District 11. It has overhead lights and a tommy lift for when we pick up debris and stuff like that,” Martinez said.

The truck was taken from a parking lot outside Martinez’s offices just north of Bird Road and off SW 152nd Ave.

“They used it yesterday. It does proactive driving every day,” Martinez told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.

It was parked in the lot at around 5 p.m. on Thursday. It wasn’t until 8:30 a.m. Friday that employees noticed it was missing.

“This morning, they come in, go inside and get a sheet, and go outside and notice no truck,” Martinez explained.

Martinez said while the truck has his name it on it, the pickup really belongs to the residents of Miami-Dade.

“They didn’t steal that truck from me or from my office, they stole that from the taxpayers of Dade County,” Martinez said. “That truck is used to pick up debris and make house calls and visit residents and lately we used it a lot to identify areas that were flooded and make sure they were cleared.”

As a former Miami-Dade Police Department detective, Martinez had worked in auto theft for four years and knows a lot about this crime.

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“They may have needed overhead lights or the tires, they are expensive, or the tommy lift,” he said.

Martinez is eager to get the truck back.

“We have a very tight budget and we won’t have a budget for that. It comes out of the capital district budget and there is very little money,” Martinez said. “I don’t think we can get another truck. Remember the county is self-insured.”

And he has an appeal.

“Please, if you see it, call the police department. We need that truck. You need that truck back. That’s something that serves not only District 11 but everyone in the county to help them out. This is your truck, not my truck. Help us get it back,” Martinez said.

But he worries.

“A car that hot, that hot with logos on, it has to be in a canal or something to that effect,” he said.

Martinez is working with Miami-Dade police and said they have searched the area with a helicopter.

The truck has a distinctive black lift gate in back.

Martinez is also looking for surveillance tape of the theft but has found none.

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If you can help, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.

Peter D'Oench