December 22, 2009 in City

Theft hits military family hard

Pickup, trailer taken from motel; little left after U-Haul found
By The Spokesman-Review

Sharon and Dewey Brown stand behind their daughter, Cami, who made a poster to try to get back her favorite doll, Jenna. The family was staying overnight in Spokane Valley when their truck and attached U-Haul trailer were stolen.
(Full-size photo)

Tips sought

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS, or submit tips online at

A family traveling from North Dakota to Western Washington awoke Monday morning to find their pickup and rented moving trailer stolen from a Spokane Valley motel parking lot.

Dewey and Sharon Brown and their 7-year-old daughter, Cami, were headed to McChord Air Force Base, where he’s scheduled to fly to South Korea for a yearlong military assignment as an Air Force technical sergeant after the family gets settled.

The rented trailer was found ransacked and abandoned at a Spokane Valley apartment complex Monday afternoon.

“Anything that was worth anything’s gone,” Sharon Brown said.

The pickup is still missing.

The Browns were due in Tacoma Monday but are staying in the Spokane area for Christmas in hopes of recovering more items or finding the missing pickup taken from La Quinta Suites, 3800 N. Sullivan Road, Sunday about 4 p.m.

Surveillance video showed the truck and trailer leaving the parking lot but gave no glimpse of the thief.

In the trailer were clothes, toys, photo albums, checks, family quilts, medical records, Christmas gifts and $50,000 in jewelry.

Also gone are Dewey Brown’s military uniforms and paperwork, including his transfer papers, and his daughter’s beloved American Girl doll, Jenna.

The family found photo albums and some clothes in the abandoned trailer, but Cami’s doll is still missing.

“That’s a big Scrooge move,” said Sharon Brown. “We never expected this to happen, especially not this time of year.”

But Brown said the crime won’t ruin her view of Spokane.

“Obviously this isn’t the norm around here,” she said. “We’re the ones who came up on the roulette wheel this time.”

Crime Stoppers is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

The pickup is a blue 1995 Dodge with Alaska license plates, oversize tires and a chrome strip along the lower sides.

It’s the second time this year a visiting family’s U-Haul has been stolen from a Spokane Valley motel parking lot.

On July 12, a family moving to Florida from Canada discovered their 17-foot U-Haul truck stolen from the Holiday Inn Express on Mission Avenue.

It was found in an abandoned barn July 15 with most of the family’s possessions intact. No arrests have been made.

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