Woman Loses 'Whole Life' in U-Haul Theft

Kristen Shaulis awoke to find her U-Haul trailer with all her belongings stolen.

ByABC News
March 7, 2014, 7:42 AM

March 7, 2014— -- A woman traveling from Illinois to Alaska to start a new job said her “whole life” was stolen when she awoke to find her U-Haul trailer holding nearly all of her personal belongings had been stolen from the parking lot of the motel where she was staying.

Kristen Shaulis, 39, was driving with her two dogs from Illinois to Alaska to begin a new job as a nurse. She checked in to a Best Western Cascadia Inn in Everett, Wash., north of Seattle on Wednesday evening where she planned to stay just one night.

On Thursday morning, she was horrified to discover that both her minivan and U-Haul trailer had been stolen from the hotel parking lot.

"I was in a panic. I panicked because that's my whole life," Shaulis told ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV. "My whole life was in that van -- or in the U-Haul. Everything was in there from my move."

The U-Haul was loaded with her most personal belongings, including quilts and antiques from her mother, who died 13 years ago, Shaulis said.

After the theft, Shaulis had only enough clothes for five days, her cell phone, one pair of shoes, and her two dogs.

“I was so excited about this trip. I was so excited to start something new,” Shaulis told KOMO-TV. “My luck ran out, completely ran out, and now I have to start over.”

Fortunately, the theft was caught on surveillance video released by Everett police. The video showed a dark SUV pulling up alongside the U-Haul shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday morning. A person got out of the SUV and opened the U-Haul door. Moments later, both vehicles left.

Everett Police Department Community Information Officer Aaron Snell told ABC News the department has received several tips, but thus far has been unable to locate the stolen vehicles.

"As of this morning, neither the U-Haul nor the victim's Chrysler have been recovered. Since the initial release, alert citizens have called 911 with potential sightings, but the vehicles were not the correct ones," Snell said in a statement.

Shaulis has received offers of support including plane tickets, dog food and financial assistance. The Red Cross is giving her a ride to Bellingham, Wash., in order to get a ferry to Alaska.

"At six o'clock today, she will be on a boat to Alaska and she will have to, unfortunately, continue on her journey with or without her property or vehicle," Snell said.

The U-Haul was a 14-foot box truck with an Arizona license plate (AE 56627) pulling a car dolly trailer. The dolly trailer had a Virginia license plate (15567R) and was carrying a black 1999 Chrysler Town and County minivan with an Illinois license plate (R679783).

Anyone with information on the stolen vehicles is urged to call the Everett Police Department tip line at (425) 257-8450 or Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound at 1-800-222-TIPS.