Trailer stolen with house full of family's belongings

As if moving isn't tough enough, a Kamloops family must start over in Chilliwack with no belongings after a cargo trailer loaded with most of their possessions was stolen.

"It's emotional just moving away from family. Moving away from everybody and being alone with nothing is just hard," Jennifer Vandegoede, 26, said Tuesday.

Speaking on the telephone from Chilliwack, Vandegoede said she, fiancé Tyler Braaten and the couple's three children are relying on thrift stores and the kindness of strangers as they settle into their new home.

The young family had to be in the Fraser Valley community by Tuesday, which is when Braaten, a contractor, was scheduled to start a new job.

Vandegoede and Braaten sent the children to their grandparents Friday night and worked until 1 a.m. loading a white cargo trailer on loan from her dad, who owns Best Express courier in Kamloops.

The children had their pyjamas, a change of clothes and their favourite stuffed animals.

"All we wanted to do in the morning was wake up, finish cleaning up and go," she said.

The exhausted couple fell asleep within minutes and slept undisturbed until 7 a.m. The trailer was gone when they woke up.

"I couldn't believe someone would do that," said Vandegoede. "Right on Westsyde Road too. That's the crazy thing."

Neither Vandegoede nor Braaten heard a thing during the night, nor did the tenants who live downstairs at 3220 Westsyde Rd. - the home the couple rented, she said.

With nowhere to live in Kamloops and a job waiting in Chilliwack, the family went ahead with the move after Vandegoede filed a police report.

Sarah Vandegoede said her heart broke as she watched her sister explain the theft to oldest child Noah, 4. She told him a bad man took their stuff.

"My dinosaurs? My clothes?" the boy replied.

"It was devastating," said Sarah.

The family had a couple of beds for the children Tuesday and are buying new clothing. Vandegoede said starting over isn't easy.

She believes the trailer's contents amount to about $10,000. They were not insured, she said.

RCMP is investigating the theft. Const. Pat Nagy said incidents like this have happened before. Usually the thieves are more interested in the trailer than the cargo.

The trailers are kept, used to commit other crimes, or sold along with the items inside, she said.

If people need to park a loaded trailer overnight, Nagy suggested it be kept in a well-lit area with the hitch blocked by another vehicle, she said.

Anyone with information is asked to phone Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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