A stolen U-Haul truck containing the belongings of a father and daughter from Saskatchewan was recovered in Abbotsford on Friday afternoon, but few items were left behind by the thieves.
The truck had been stolen from South Surrey overnight last Tuesday, Dec. 29 after Michael Suiker and his daughter Meghan stopped to visit family en route to Victoria, where they were moving to from Saskatoon.
Suiker said he parked the 34-foot U-Haul truck and 18-foot trailer “about half a block away in front of a strip mall” on Rosemary Heights Drive – near 34 Avenue and 152 Street – at about 12:15 a.m. after completing a long leg of the journey from Calgary.
The vehicles were gone the next morning, when Suiker and his daughter were going to head for the ferry to Swartz Bay, Suiker said.
Gone with them were furniture, mementos and household items belonging to him and Meghan, who is due to graduate Grade 12 in the spring.
“It’s her whole life and my whole life, too,” he said, adding that among the missing items were his green ATV.
The retired Saskatoon transit worker, long divorced from Meghan’s mother, said he and his daughter had planned to set up house in Victoria.
Plans are for Meghan to return to Saskatoon to finish Grade 12 and then move permanently to Victoria once she has graduated, he said.
“I grew up on the North Shore and I have friends and family in the Lower Mainland and on the island,” Suiker said. “Meghan has spent her whole life in Saskatoon.”
Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said the theft was posted and shared on Facebook, with a plea to help the family locate the stolen vehicle.
On Friday afternoon at 2:20 p.m., a local citizen who had seen the Facebook post noticed a U-Haul truck in the parking lot of either the former Rona home improvement store or of the adjacent Costco on Sumas Way, MacDonald said.
He said the person then notified a police officer who was on the scene of a nearby minor motor vehicle accident that the U-Haul might be the same one involved in the Surrey theft.
The U-Haul was soon confirmed to be the one in question. Almost everything was gone from inside the truck except for three small boxes containing keepsakes such as photo albums and urns with the ashes of Suiker’s father and grandmother.
The trailer was not found.
A GoFundMe page, “Help the Suiker family rebuild,” has been set up to help the family replace their stolen items.
The incident is similar to what occurred last summer when a U.S. military family moving from Georgia to Fairbanks, Alaska had their U-Haul truck stolen overnight while they were staying at an Abbotsford hotel.
The stolen vehicle was recovered in Surrey, and they, too, lost most of their belongings.
– with files from Alex Browne of The Peace Arch News