Midlothian family experiences cross-country nightmare: 'It’s just frustrating'

Posted at 11:54 AM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 11:54:30-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A Midlothian family traveling cross-country is now out thousands of dollars after losing almost everything in Salt Lake City, KSTU reported.

Kristin Phillips and her husband are homeschooling their 14-year-old son Owen while on the three-week road trip.

“There’s nothing like being immersed in the culture to really understand more than what you would get out of just reading a book,” said Phillips. “We stopped in one state and visited some family for a day or so, and then we continued on to South Dakota, to the Badlands and the Minuteman Missile Sites."

Tuesday, September 28, they arrived in Salt Lake City.

“We’ve just been having a great trip, and everything had been going along just perfectly, and all of our plans had seemed to come together until now,” said Phillips.

On September 29 everything changed.

“We walked out and my husband said, where is the truck, and I said what do you mean,” said Phillips.

Not only was their truck gone, but everything in it, cameras and equipment as well as all of their camping gear.

“In less than four minutes they were able to get into our vehicle and drive off,” said Phillips.

There was surveillance video from a nearby store but police said the quality was so poor, they couldn’t even use it for their investigation.

“It appears that another vehicle pulled up next to this family's vehicle, somebody got out, they were able to access the vehicle fairly quickly, and then they drove away in this family‘s vehicle,” said Sergeant Brandon Shearer with Salt Lake City Police.

The family drives a Ford F-250, which was locked at the time with all of their valuables covered. This type of truck just so happens to be one of the top vehicles stolen in the U.S.

“Whether it’s using shaved keys or just the way the vehicle is manufactured, makes it much easier to take,” said Sgt. Shearer.

While the Phillips family is out thousands of dollars and all of their stuff, Philips said the one thing she wanted back was her son's orca stuffed animal. It is a prized possession he’s carried with him for 13 years.

“I would just love for that to turn up somewhere and to get that back,” she said.

Despite their bad fortune, the Phillips plan to continue through southern Utah.

“It’s just frustrating that there are people like that out there who just want to ruin someone’s day for their gain,” said Phillips.

Police say the best thing to do, to prevent car thefts is to get a steering wheel lock, that way, even if your car is broken into, the thief can’t drive away.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe for the Phillips family.

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