Paul Bilodeau parked at a Publix in Oakland Park, Florida, last Thursday and could not help but notice the truck that parked next to him, an old white truck covered with Trump stickers. He could not help but notice the driver.
"He had been looking in his car," said Bilodeau, "and I thought he looked like a shooter, like someone who was going to shoot in a store."
Bilodeau was not the first in South Florida to notice the festooned truck, home of Cesar Altieri Sayoc Jr., the man accused of sending bombs to Democrats across the country on Friday.
From Adventure to Hollywood, to Davie and beyond, people stared and photographed the strange vehicle for some time.
"I saw this van dozens of times. It always struck me, it always disturbed me. It seemed that sometimes someone was in the van, although it was hard to tell because of the windows, "said David Cypkin, a documentary producer who co-produced" Cocaine Cowboys "in 2006.
"This is also Miami and you do not know, this guy is an enthusiastic supporter of Trump, that's one thing, but the amount of stickers he had in his car combined with some of the most threatening stickers seemed to indicate that this could be a person with a problem that you do not want to face directly, especially in Miami, where you do not know if someone is armed. "
Cypkin was with the van regularly when he lived near Shoppes at the Waterways in Aventura, where he was stationed regularly. Cypkin believed that someone could be living in the van and, finally, on the morning of New Year's Eve 2017, he took some quick photos to see some of the stickers later.
"I had seen him there for at least a year," Cypkin said. "I saw someone standing in the back once, with one of the back doors open. I did not make eye contact. "
Bilodeau, the Publix buyer in Oakland Park, watched Sayoc before deciding he could not have a gun on him.
"He wore gym clothes, but, too small," Bilodeau said, explaining why he did not believe César Sayoc could be armed.
Bilodeau took photos of the truck and then saw that Sayoc had gone to Publix to buy lottery tickets. The Mega Millions jackpot on Friday was almost one billion dollars, after all.
In Davie, people often saw the truck outside of Whole Foods, and Geo Rodriguez, a former South Florida reporter Sun Sentinel, found it in front of Papa John's pizza in Hollywood.
Rodriguez, who now works for Memorial Regional Hospital, likes to take pictures of strange things in his city. The hashtags on Instagram, #Hollyweird.
On April 6, he left a 7-11 and saw the van, parked in the ditch next to Hollywood Boulevard, in front of Pope John & # 39; s. Several readers said they have seen the truck delivering pizza.
I have seen it from time to time. You can say it's from around here, "Rodriguez said." I see it at the Publix here in Hollywood all the time, it's like an accessory. "
When he saw the van in the news, when the FBI towed him down the road, he remembered it immediately.
"One of my co-workers was watching him on TV," said Rodriguez, and like many others, when he saw him, he thought: "I know that truck!"
dsweeney@SunSentinel.com, 954-356-4605 or Twitter @Daniel_Sweeney