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Texas Plumber’s Old Truck Ends Up With Syrian Militant Group

A Texas plumber is getting some unwanted attention after one of his old company vehicles appeared in a photo posted on an Islamic militant group's social media account.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: how did a Texas plumber’s truck end up in Syria?; Dallas police look for a real-life Scrooge; it’s going to be crazy busy at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; and more.

A Texas plumber is getting some unwanted attention after one of his old company vehicles appeared in a photo posted on an Islamic militant group's social media account. Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City has been flooded with calls after the picture appeared on Twitter, The Galveston County Daily News reported. The picture was posted online by the Islamic extremist group Ansar al-Deen Front, according to a CBS News report. The photo 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 the company for 32 years, said he traded that truck at an AutoNation dealership three years ago and has no idea how it ended up in Syria. He usually takes the decals off his vehicles when he sells them but he left it on this vehicle, believing AutoNation would remove it. [Associated Press]

  • Dallas police are trying to find a real-life Scrooge. A woman has been stealing several holiday packages from porches throughout Northwest Dallas. The suspect is described as Hispanic and in her 20s. “She exits a green 2-door 90s Ford Explorer with gray fenders, walks up to the front door, takes the packages, returns to the passenger side of the suspect vehicle, and flees the scene,” Dallas police said on its website. If you have any leads in the case, call Dallas police at 214-670-6179. Police suggest residents require a signature for delivery so packages aren’t left at the front door; that the shipper send packages to your office; or ask to pick up packages at the shipper’s distribution center.

  • It’s going to be busy at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport over the holidays. The airport said Thursday it expects its busiest holiday season ever. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the airport expects 3.2 million passengers from Dec. 17 to Jan. 4. That’s a 2.4 percent increase from last year.

  • The Dallas Morning News made news Thursday. It hired Mike Wilson, managing editor of the ESPN website FiveThirtyEight, as its new editor. Wilson spent a year with sports and politics guru Nate Silver at his data-driven website after more than a decade at the Tampa Bay Times. He’ll replace Bob Mong, who’s retiring next year after running The News since 2001. Wilson starts in February. Read more from The News. [KERA News]

  • On Friday, Anything You Ever Wanted to Know leaves the friendly confines of KERA to broadcast at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Loyal fans may recall we tried this a couple of weeks ago, but we had technical difficulties. So we had to scrap our plans. We've worked out the technical issues. We’ll take your questions and answers and broadcast live from noon to 1, just outside the Winspear Opera House across from the StoryCorps MobileBooth. And we'll be there rain or shine (though if it's more rain than shine, we'll be inside the Pearl Cup coffee shop next door). [KERA/Stephen Becker]
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.