ST. LOUIS — Latisha Cook made her first move to Tower Grove South neighborhood after living in Kansas for 51 years.
"My husband Michael received a job at Harris Stowe State University as the head basketball coach, and we've lived in Fort Scott, Kansas where he was the basketball coach there at Fort Scott Community College," Latisha Cook said.
They made it to St. Louis at about 7 Sunday night with the last of their belongings in a U-Haul, parked in front of their new home on Potomac Street.
"Had it locked up, thinking that it was going to be safe out here, and we woke up this morning at 6 a.m. to it being gone," Cook said.
Cook checked her ring camera around 4 Monday morning to see the truck was there. She checked it again at 6 a.m.
"My legs got weak, and I said, 'Honey, the truck is gone,'" Cook said.
They lost major appliances, clothes, furniture and, most importantly, pictures and memories of their loved ones.
"I immediately got on and called U-Haul then called the police first of all. Then I wanted to call the movers to let them know don't come at 8:00 a.m. because there's not truck here to unload," she said.
U-Haul sent a statement saying:
"We sympathize when any customer is a victim of theft. When our customers are victimized by criminals, U-Haul is likewise victimized and shares in their frustration. We employ a robust investigations unit that works closely with law enforcement in the tracking down of these criminals to ensure their prosecution."
"The material things as far as our appliances, our furniture and stuff, we can replace that, but we can't replace those memories," Cook said.
On the plus side, they paid for U-Haul's truck rental coverage and are working with their insurance companies for the other lost belongings which included Cook's wedding dress.
"We still have our health. We still are together, and we'll be here and keep getting better," Michael Cook said.
St. Louis police confirmed they took the report of Cook's stolen U-Haul, but did not have any other information available.
Cook informed 5 On Your Side Thursday that the U-Haul had been found on Tuesday and she was working with St. Louis police to determine if her family's belongings were still inside the truck.
U-Haul advises its customers to proactively take the following steps to reduce the risk of equipment and property theft when moving:
- Always park in well-lit areas and within view of security cameras.
- Do not leave keys in the truck where others can access them.
- Lock doors to the truck cab and place secure locks on the rear cargo doors of your truck and/or trailer. (U-Haul sells these locks at all its stores.)
- Place secure locks on the chains connecting your personal vehicle or moving truck to your trailer so the chains cannot be easily disconnected. (U-Haul sells these locks at all its stores.)
- Back up your moving truck or trailer to a garage, wall or other solid barrier so that possessions cannot be unloaded without the equipment being moved.
- Avoid leaving your moving truck or trailer parked and unattended in areas of town where crime is prevalent.
- Avoid loading your possessions into your truck or trailer and leaving it parked and unattended at any time, particularly overnight, if this can be helped.
- Do not lend the equipment to anyone who is not an authorized driver on the contract or provide the keys to someone you do not know.
- Follow precisely U-Haul instructions for equipment pick-up and return.