Posted on August 9, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Updated today at 11:13 PM
DALLAS - Joe Robbins and his family pulled into Dallas Saturday night, parked their U-Haul, and spent a night in a hotel.
When they came back Sunday, they say the U-Haul was gone, along with everything they owned.
"It was a 17-foot box truck," Robbins said. "It said Florida on the side and had Arizona license plates. Our whole life was in it."
The truck was parked in a gated, lit parking lot across Reunion Boulevard from the Hyatt Regency hotel. It is not hotel property, and the Robbins did not spend the night at the Hyatt.
The lot is run by Ace Parking. There is an attendant on staff 24 hours a day, and customers must have a ticket to exit. Robbins said he left his ticket on his dashboard.
He filed a police report Sunday, then Tuesday, the U-Haul turned up in Garland. But it was damaged and empty.
"They took everything," he said. "Everything."
A spokesperson said with Ace Parking, based in San Diego, is working with the police investigation.
Robbins created his own page on Facebook to help in the search, hoping someone who saw something will come forward.
"Some people don't like calling the police and stuff, so people can go there and write something," he said. "If you saw anything Saturday night as far as a U-Haul, something suspicious, let us know."
He has a few pictures of his family on his phone, but just a few, and that's what hurts most.
"The most important things are the pictures, and valuable personal things, like file cabinets, stuff you don't want anybody else to have, for sure," he said.
"There were videos of my children being born, photos of my mom, and my wife's mom, that died of cancer in the last four to five years," he continued. "Stuff we can never get back. My mom had a little elephant charm. She was holding it when she died. Stuff like that means nothing to [the thieves.] They probably threw it away. I'd like to get it back as soon as possible."
Robbins said he doesn't want money, he just wants help finding those meaningful things. They can keep the material things, he said.
He said his wife is now doubthing whether Dallas is the right place for their family, but he's not.
"To tell you the truth, I love Dallas," he said. "This is not gonna change my mind."