RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – NBC12 has uncovered new information on a story we first broke Wednesday at 11. A retired couple's stolen moving van has been found with many of their belongings still inside. The thieves, however, are still on the loose.
The Lindgrens, who are the victims in this case, said they are overjoyed to get this incredible news. They had just made it to Florida when we spoke with them and they plan to come all the way back to Central Virginia Monday to pick up the things they told us they could never replace.
The truck in the surveillance video NBC12 obtained held everything Mary and Andrew Lindgren cherished in the world. They kept it close by during their move from New Jersey to Florida.
"The family bible, videos of our kids performing as youngsters, paintings that Grandma Elsie did, Grandma Ludwig's sugar bowl; we went through carefully what we saved," Mary explained.
The truck and their belongings vanished from the Hampton Inn in Ashland a week ago.
About 25 miles away on Richmond's southside, a woman noticed a truck she didn't recognize had been abandoned for a few days. When she heard the story about the couple's missing belongings, she called police.
Richmond Police Officer Paul Cline, who was first to the scene, said the truck was unlocked and it looked like everything was still inside.
"In this job you don't always get to see a lot of positive endings to your everyday activities," he told us. "And this was one where it was just another call that I went to initially about a suspicious truck and it turns out it got to help somebody who had a lot of their life taken away from them."
NBC12 has learned this is just one instance of a growing problem. Lt. James Shelhorse said Ashland Police have seen thieves targeting vehicles, like contractor trucks, in similar situations.
"They'll be staying in your area for a while," he explained. "They need to be really careful and lock up the equipment. They're obviously not taking it back to the office at night. They're staying at the hotels."
You may remember NBC12 was first to tell you about a truck full of President Obama's equipment that was also stolen from a hotel parking lot. We are awaiting word on whether or not these incidents are related.