UPDATE: Shelley Buschur was reunited with her art car late Monday afternoon. Police found the stolen truck, although the ignition had been damaged in the apparent theft, reports the Houston Chronicle. Buschur hopes to have the vehicle back in shape in time for a Fourth of July parade appearance.
Sure, we've all wondered what it would be like to drive around in an art car, the wind in our hair as we cruise the Houston streets in a convertible covered with pennies.
According to the Art Cars of Houston Facebook page, some buzz-kill took that dream too far on Sunday and ripped off artist Shelley Buschur's "Make Out, Not War" truck — a 1988 Chevy pickup donning pictures of lips and a giant heart-shaped sign reading "bring our troops home."
"Honestly, I can't imagine who'd steal something so conspicuous," Buschur told CultureMap on Monday, trying to remain relatively cheerful in light of the theft. "It's an eight-cylinder truck too, so it gets terrible gas mileage."
"I'm bummed but optimistic right no w," said owner Shelley Buschur. "The good thing is that, even though the car's been stolen, it can still get its message out into the world."
She and her boyfriend left their south Houston home Sunday morning to take in day two of the Free Press Summer Fest. Buschur said she was planning to display her art car at the event, but ended up leaving the "Make Out" truck at home due to a scheduling conflict. When the couple returned around 11:30 p.m., the vehicle was gone.
"I was planning on bringing the truck to a Fourth of July celebration at Lindale Park, since it has all of these political messages," she said, noting that the truck made its first appearance as an art car in 2003 when it was decorated with rose-colored lingerie and the words "give Bush the pink slip." Several years later, it was re-painted and covered in plastic peaches for an "Im-peach Bush" theme.
While she hasn't necessarily rule out sabotage by right-learning activists, she explained that she's never had issues with negative feedback or comments about the vehicle's overt anti-war politics.
"People in the neighborhood would often stop by when we were working on the truck," Buschur recalled. "Everyone was always really nice, though, and we've never once had a problem. People were just curious."
The idea of her art truck was always meant to be positive, she said. "I'm bummed but optimistic right now. The good thing is that, even though the car's been stolen, it can still get its message out into the world."
The Houston Police Department is asking anyone with information about the missing "Make Out, Not War" truck to contact the HPD Auto Theft Division at 713-308-3500.