The U.S. military family whose U-Haul truck was stolen while they were staying overnight at an Abbotsford hotel has since found out that the thieves left almost nothing behind.
But thanks to the support of people who heard about their plight, many of the items will be replaced.
Anna Spencer and her five children had stopped in Abbotsford on the evening of Aug. 16 while en route from Georgia to their new residence in Fairbanks, Alaska.
They were travelling to join husband and dad Ronald, an army man who had been stationed in Alaska and had been living there since May.
Leaving the four-bedroom Georgia home where they had resided for seven years, the family loaded everything they owned into a 26-foot GMC U-Haul truck.
This included all their furniture and other essentials, but also some irreplaceable items, such as several boxes of family photos; keepsakes that had belonged to Anna’s dad, who died 15 years ago; and military gear (no weapons) that Ronald had saved over his 15 years in the service.
Sometime during the family’s overnight stay, thieves drove into the parking lot of the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre on North Parallel Road and made off with the U-Haul.
The abandoned truck was discovered the next morning in Surrey, but it took a few days before the family was able to see the truck for themselves.
Left in the vehicle, which had previously been packed from floor to ceiling, were just a few items, such as a mattress and some shelving units. Everything else was gone, including the irreplaceable keepsakes.
Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said in the days after the theft was reported in the media, a “huge and borderline overwhelming response” from the public resulted in many offers of cash and items.
“A lot of people stepped up to try to make this right,” he said.
MacDonald said Anna has repeatedly expressed how grateful and overwhelmed the family is for the support following such a difficult situation.
Anna and her kids – ranging in age from 10 to 27 – were back on the road this week and should be now be in Alaska, MacDonald said.
No arrests have yet been made.
Anyone still wishing to help the family is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to do so.
(Photo below: Anna Spencer talks with Abbotsford Police Const. Ian McDonald the day after the theft occurred.)