Truck Containing Obama’s Teleprompter, Audio Equipment Stolen in Virginia

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We just don’t know what to say. Neither would President Obama without his teleprompter, which went missing from a parking lot Monday.

It was quickly recovered, but not before giving government officials pause. The stolen prompter and other audio equipment that went missing was worth more than $200,000.

The truck was parked at the Virginia Center Commons Courtyard Marriott in Richmond, Va., awaiting President Obama’s arrival as he continues promoting his jobs bill across the nation. But Monday, the truck vanished, leaving officials scrambling to track down the six-figure sum of sound equipment, podiums and teleprompter.

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NBC12 reports that around 12:30 p.m. Monday, the white box truck was discovered in a Holiday Inn parking lot near Richmond International Airport. It became, naturally, the scene of a major investigation. A statement from the Defense Information Systems Agency noted that “no classified or sensitive information was in the vehicle,” though they are continuing to investigate the theft.

Though it was quickly recovered, the fact that thieves decided to steal Obama’s prompter is disquieting. POTUS is rarely seen without his affectionately titled TOTUS, short for Teleprompter of the United States. It’s become such an extension of the President’s polished speaking style that it’s even been given its very own voice – a blog. And yesterday, it spoke fearfully about its kidnapping.

But now, safely back in Washington’s hands, both POTUS and TOTUS are free to ramble on.

Nick Carbone is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @nickcarbone. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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