For the past 50 years, boxing promoter and Delray Beach resident Don King has been donating thousands of turkeys to needy families each year for Christmas. He had planned on delivering turkeys to South Florida cities Mangonia Park, Deerfield Beach and Miami today, but the truck never made it to its first stop.
King's spokesman Robert Weneck announced that their turkey truck with $34,000 worth of Christmas birds had been "hijacked" in Florida. He told NBC Miami, "times are so bad, they're stealing turkeys."
According to Weneck, the truck went missing but was found hours later on the side of a highway near Pompano Beach. Although turkeys were still inside, the fowl had to be discarded as they couldn't guarantee that the birds had been temperature-controlled. Weneck said, "Don didn't want to make everyone sick."
If the turkeys were indeed out of their hands, they had good reason to play it safe. The government's food safety web site explains that bacteria in food left out for more than two hours doubles every 20 minutes. Such bacteria can make a poison or toxin that can make you ill. And there's nothing more un-Christmas-y than giving thousands of poor families food poisoning.
But something may be a little fishy about this bird situation. CBS 12 reports that Tim Frith, Florida Highway Patrol spokesman, says there's been no record of any turkey theft incident.
Although what exactly happened to the turkey trucks remains unclear, today's distribution was canceled. This morning, hundreds of hungry people crowded the former Palm Beach Jai Alai stadium for King's free turkeys. Weneck hopes they can hand out replacement turkeys this Monday. Although they might want to send an armed guard with the turkey truck this time. This is South Florida after all.