While on a military move from California to Alaska, a couple had all of their belongings stolen from outside of a Federal Way hotel on Aug. 18.
While the couple’s stolen pickup truck has been recovered, their U-Haul moving truck — containing their furniture, military awards, memorabilia, family heirlooms and more — remains missing.
“The moving truck had everything we own,” said Mary McQuilkin, 33. “Furniture, books, dishes, clothing … we had a three-bedroom house, and everything we own was in that U-Haul truck.”
McQuilkin and her husband, Miles Brodsky, 34, started their trip moving from San Francisco to Anchorage on Aug. 16. Miles is a captain in the Air National Guard who recently returned from his deployment in Afghanistan. Mary is a nurse practitioner who has worked the front lines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Late on Aug. 18, the couple arrived at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, 31910 Gateway Center Blvd. S. in Federal Way, the second day of their eight-day journey. They parked their moving truck in a well-lit corner of the parking lot.
They checked into the hotel and rested for the remaining days of driving ahead. Sometime between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. the following morning, their 20-foot U-Haul truck towing their Toyota pickup truck on a flatbed trailer was stolen.
Federal Way police said there are no known suspects.
After a day of searching, the King County Sheriff’s Office recovered the flatbed trailer and the now-empty pickup truck around 5 p.m. Aug. 18 near the 3200 block of South 302nd Place in Auburn. Most of the pickup’s contents included military and outdoor gear used by Miles for search and rescue missions in the military.
“They stole everything. [The pickup truck] was filled to the brim,” McQuilkin said. “The moving truck is the important part and that’s still missing.”
The 20-foot U-Haul truck has an Arizona license plate: A595188. King County Sheriff’s Office said the moving truck is still outstanding.
On Aug. 20, a local man saw some of the couple’s items dumped near his business in Seattle, McQuilkin said. He connected with the couple and they were able to retrieve some of their items, including one of Miles’ awards and some photographs.
McQuilkin says her clothes, shoes and personal letters seemed to have been targeted and have not yet been located.
Some of the stolen items are worth more in memories and sentimental value than price, such as framed photos of the couple’s explorations in Yosemite National Park or the framed photo of Miles with former President Barack Obama in front of Air Force One after a successful rescue mission.
Mary’s medical textbooks — including a textbook autographed by D.A. Henderson, the epidemiologist who eradicated smallpox — and a painting from the teens she taught in Uganda are also gone.
Other items do have high monetary value. The couple is hoping community members can keep an eye out for local sales of their three mountain bikes, a gold 20th anniversary Eagle coin, boosted board, a handmade rug from Afghanistan and other items.
“We have nothing now,” McQuilkin said. “We don’t have a bed, or sheets. We’ll have to buy the basics and clothes more appropriate for Anchorage.”
The couple is staying with family near Bothell. McQuilkin says they are planning to continue with their moving trip within the next couple of days.
The couple’s website at marymcquilkin.com lists many of their items with photos and descriptions.
How to help
If you know the whereabouts of the U-Haul truck (Arizona license plate A595188) or any of the couple’s items, contact Federal Way Police at 253-835-2121 or Mary McQuilkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.