GMC_U-Haul_truck_front_1Thieves made off with an entire furniture-packed U-Haul truck. It happened Friday evening in the Woodbridge neighborhood of northernmost Lake Highlands.

The victims, (my across-the-street neighbors) Matt Saumer and his partner are in the process of moving (to a home a mere two miles away).

They had separated their furniture into things they love — beautiful furniture, essential appliances, electronics, keepsakes — and things with which they were ready to part.

The latter, they began arranging and pricing for a yard sale. The former, they spent a long day lifting, rolling, pushing (packing and arranging with painstaking carefulness) into a U-Haul mover.

At about 10 p.m. Friday, while the street was still awake and some people were still out walking their dogs even, the sealed-tight vehicle containing much of my neighbors’ material lives disappeared.

An online search reveals, this is not an unusual crime. (It even happened to a guy who is surrounded 24-7 by secret service).

Frequently thieves target hotel lots, looking for relocaters resting for the night. But many simply look for someone who appears to be moving. It wouldn’t be so hard to plan a crime like this, because when we move, we generally are fairly conspicuous about it — the For Sale sign, the Sold sign, the trucks, the action, the moving sales … conceivably are invitations to bad-doers (who might stake-out a home or neighborhood disguised as a casual passerby).

A few good prevention tips are offered here — block the moving truck in somehow, such as parking it in a driveway and then parking your other vehicle behind it; invest in an anti-theft bar or alarm; etcetera.

I hoped I might post descriptions of the Woodbridge residents’ belongings — a king sized bed, a dining table, multiple lamps and Samsung TV to name a few — and someone might spot them at a local pawn shop or in a D/FW craigslist ad, for example. However, if these crooks are like others around the country, they are likely too criminally savvy to make that mistake. (Still, be on the lookout for the aforementioned items.)

A recent Las Vegas investigation of multiple U-Haul thefts uncovered a large operation in which thieves collected and placed victims’ belongings in storage units. In that case, after police caught the thieves via a bait moving truck, they sent notice to the many victims and allowed them to search for their things. So, here’s hoping these thieves slip up and that these kind people, and others like them, get their things back.

And at the very least, let it serve as a warning to stay diligent, especially if your property is vulnerable due to moving, remodeling or vacationing.

police report