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Family traveling cross-country devastated after truck is stolen in SLC

Posted at 5:19 PM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 11:29:12-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A family traveling cross-country from Virginia is now out thousands of dollars after losing almost everything in Salt Lake City.

Kristin Phillips, her husband and their son have planned for years to travel across the country, this year they made that a reality, but it’s anything than what they expected.

Kristen and her husband home school their 14-year-old son, Owen.

“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.

This year they’re taking a unique approach to teaching Owen about the history in different cultures of the US with a 3 Week road trip.

“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,” said Phillips.

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 seem to come together until now,” said Phillips.

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 there 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 say the quality was so poor, they couldn’t even use it for their investigation.

“It appears that another vehicle pulled up next to this families 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 drive 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, Kristen says the one thing she wants back is her sons orca stuffed animal, that he’s carried everywhere for 13 years.

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

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.