FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- For at least the fifth time since May, a U-Haul truck has been stolen in Western Washington. The latest incident happened in Federal Way and resulted in a widow from Arizona losing everything she owns, including her husband's ashes.
Lee Emory parked her 20-foot moving truck at the Super Eight Motel on South 348th Street in Federal Way.
She went to bed Tuesday evening, and when she went to check on the U-Haul at about 12 p.m. Wednesday, it was gone.
I just thought I'm seeing things, I just couldn't believe it, and then I got numb all over, Emory said.
She immediately called Federal Way Police and filed a report. The motel has surveillance cameras, but none pointed in the direction of the back lot where her truck was parked. The theft was not caught on tape.
It is hard to put into words, she said. It's like people who've had a fire that's destroyed everything in their lives. My whole life is on that truck!
She is not the first person in Western Washington to feel that intense sense of loss after falling victim to U-Haul thieves.
A JBLM soldier in the midst of a cross-country move with this family had his U-Haul stolen just last week in Tacoma.
Three other U-Haul thefts took place in May, in Bellevue and Seattle. Another took place inEverett in March.
Police, so far, can't say whether any of the crimes are connected.
Federal Way Police said that since Emory's U-Haul was stolen just a few days after the Tacoma case, they will look into the possibility. They say the sad reality is that thieves often case hotel and motel parking lots, looking for moving trucks to steal.
The items on Emory's stolen U-Haul include furniture, electronics, family photos albums, and perhaps most important, her husband's ashes.
Yes, my husband passed away in June and his ashes are on that truck, in an urn, she said. So this is really devastating to me.
She was in the process of moving to Federal Way from Arizona, where she had lived with her husband. When he passed away, Emory wanted to move to Washington where her son lives.
Everything that was connected to my husband and our life together is just gone, she said.
The U-Haul had an Arizona license plate, number AE45060.
Emory says the truck was almost out of gas, so the thief couldn't have gotten far without stopping at a gas station.
She is hopeful the U-Haul will be recovered soon, but worries there might not be much left inside. Since she lives on a fixed income, she says the theft has also created a huge financial burden.
I have no money to replace these things, she said.
She did buy insurance through U-Haul, but the company hasn't yet been able to tell her whether the items inside the truck will be covered.
She was supposed to move into her new Federal Way apartment on Thursday. Now, she doesn't even have a bed to sleep in.
I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, she said.
If you have any information about the U-Haul stolen from the Super Eight in Federal Way, call Federal Way Police.