By Paige Dickerson
Peninsula Daily News
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The old truck -- which no longer runs -- is parked outside the Forks Visitor Center as an attraction to fans of the Twilight series of books which features Bella as the young heroine.
The fictional character supposedly drove an old pickup truck like the SSRq52 Chevy, and West End Motors has come to rescue after the gas cap went missing off the truck, said Mike Gur¬ling, visitor center manager who came up with the idea to display the old pickup.
Sometime last week, the gas cap was stolen by what Forks Chamber of Commerce officials can only guess was a zealous fan.
A story on the purloined gas cap appeared in the Peninsula Daily News last week and was disseminated to Twilight fans worldwide Saturday on peninsuladailynews.com.
Kyle Anderson of West End Motors came to the rescue from close to home.
"He brought in a whole box full of gas caps, and we picked out a really nice one and a semi-nice one that we will have as a backup -- just in case," Gurling said.
The books, which have remained on the best-seller list since the release of New Moon in 2006, also are being made into movies.
The first flick was released in November, and the second movie, based on the second book, New Moon, will be released this upcoming November.
The series -- beginning with Twilight and followed by New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn -- detail the love affair between Bella, a clumsy high school girl, and her handsome vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen.
The pickup truck was purchased by a group of Forks business owners and donated to the chamber after it was painted red -- to look more like the model described in the book.
It sat center stage at Stephenie Meyer Day -- Sept. 13, in honor of Bella's fictitious birthday -- in Forks, when about 1,000 fans flocked to town for pictures and camaraderie.
Marcia Bingham, director of the Chamber of Commerce, said Anderson plans to step up and help when other atrocities befoul Bella's truck.
"Anderson will dress up in black to investigate all further Twicrimes [against the truck]," she said.
(Fans of the books and movie call themselves "Twihards.")
Beyond Anderson's help, about three dozen fans e-mailed the Peninsula Daily News over the holiday weekend with tips on where to buy car parts, and many more called the Forks chamber office to offer their help and condolences.
The culprit, however, was not among those responding, Gurling said.
One fan, Heidi Files of Salt Lake City, noted that the gas cap theft wasn't an isolated incident.
She said in an e-mail that she and several other TwilightMOMS had borrowed a similar pickup truck from Files' father for the premiere of the "Twilight" movie in November.
The pickup -- parked outside the cinema in Salt Lake City -- also lost its gas cap to a sticky-fingered fan.
"My dad is bummed, since the truck was handed down to him from his father and he is in the process of restoring it," Files said.
Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.