03-09 Trailer Story

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Kathy Corey

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I am about to tell you the story of our 2003 Haulmark Race Trailer.

 

 

 

 

 

The beginning:

My husband and I purchased a 2003 Haulmark Race Trailer from Ace Trailer in Salem Oregon, new off the lot. We were very proud to have that beautiful white shimmery trailer with the diamond plate rock guard on the front and the new bright and shiny lights. It was perfect for Todd’s little Chevy Luv race truck. And would work for hauling my Cuda's around as well. We don't buy very many things that are new, so this was an exception. We looked quite a while at trailers before deciding on the Race Trailer. We needed something extra low with a long dovetail for our rather low clearance, don’t like hanging headers up when backing out. And wide enough for the Cuda’s to fit. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon after the purchase we had decided to move to Texas for family reasons. So we put the house up for sale, sold off a lot of stuff we had accumulated over the years. Decided that everything we took would have to fit in one 28 ft rental truck, our pick up and the Race Trailer. (Sent the Cuda's via enclosed carrier) We put a lot of thought into what went into the Race Trailer as we were going to be on the road for a while. The freshly painted and finished RaceTruck went into the trailer along with an assortment of tools in my top box, and a dresser nicely stocked for the trip among other small items. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The drive down there took several days, of course with the cat and dog along for the ride we had to make some extra stops, ok so they were mostly for me... We finally made it to Texas and My Husbands best friend offered us a parking spot behind his house for the trailer. Looked like a nice secure location so we backed her in, unhooked, checked everything out. Made sure the locks were all secure and headed for a motel for a good nights sleep.

The next day we were checking the PO box we had reserved for mail when the phone rang. "The trailer is gone did you come pick it up?" I kind of chuckled and said that's not funny. We found out that it was no joke. Someone had just stolen our Trailer, Race truck and everything else that was inside. That was November 21st 2003. Not a good feeling, all that work, all that money, we felt sick and helpless, hope you never have to go thru that.

Insurance threw out soo much red tape it was pretty much useless. They did not pay for the RaceTruck or the new Trailer. And depreciated the tools, clothing & other items. So I was paying many thousands of dollars now for a race truck and trailer that someone decided to swipe. Still paying for chassis work and the new paint job on the truck, still paying on the card I used to purchase the trailer that we no longer had. It’s like a monthly reminder that there are people out there who have no heart, no soul no feelings about what they do to others. And the years of work Todd had put into that race truck, his hours of dedication to that project, swiped away in an instant.

            We scraped up some photo’s, made pamphlets to hand out at the Texas tracks, visited police stations & created a website for the stolen racecar and trailer. We spent hours and days just driving around looking for a glimpse of something. But we did not know where to look. We continued on with life went to work, purchased a home near a drag strip just outside of Denton Texas. Had to purchase an open trailer to haul the cars. You know, Todd did not ever get a chance to race the little Chevy Luv that was stolen. It was only painted 2 weeks before getting stolen. The chassis work was done by Vanderbeck Race Cars, out of Salem Oregon. Vanderbeck is well known in this area for setting up cars that hook up and run straight. OK I’m getting off track that is another topic… back to the trailer story. 

We ended up moving back to Oregon in 2007 after a tragedy that has left an empty hole in our lives, we could no longer stay in Texas, I needed to get us back home to Oregon.

Back home:

Here it is 2009 and the phone rings " I'm sure that I have spotted your trailer" The caller was that best friend Casey, still down there in Texas; he never gave up the search, and found the trailer. I asked if he was able to take some photos, his wife had her camera phone and sent me some photo’s. The trailer was parked at a person’s home, rather out of sight, but you could tell that it was a Haulmark with the decals pulled off.  He went to two police departments to get things rolling, the first police department he went to told him that they would have to go to the original department that took the report some 5 ½ years prior. So I asked if he would, the original police department took his information but told him they would need to speak with me for any further information. I was getting excited, nervous, impatient, and somewhat in disbelief.

The person that had possession of our trailer had it registered as a home built, if you can believe that! C’mon Texas, pay a little more attention! They had removed the decals but you could still tell that it read "Haulmark Race Trailer" if not for that we may have never got that call. I spoke with my new detective and told him about all of the photos that I had of the trailer inside and out from when it was new. I sent a batch of them to him that showed the interior wood, floors, and walls. It was like a fingerprint with the designs in the wood, where the knots were, the screws, the grain of the wood. The detective took the photos and the copies of the paperwork and he went to the location of the trailer.  The Vin numbers were ground off but not good enough, the police could read the first few and the last 5 digits. There is no other trailer that looks like a Race Trailer. All of that along with many detailed photos that I sent of the interior and exterior of the trailer was enough for them to pick it up. It was placed in impound down in Texas, and we were working on getting her back up here.

Soo much has happened to us over the years we just never actually thought we would ever see it again. Now I doubt they will ever find the race truck, but then again you never know, I am not giving up hope on that either. I am just so excited that part of our property has been found. So never give up because well you just never know. I have had the stolen truck and trailer on my website for many years, hoping and waiting for this day. So that is my Haulmark Story and it's not over yet. I know it's going to cost a good chunk of change to pay the impound fees and get the trailer back to Oregon, but it's our trailer and we are going to get her back.

The Texas trip:

The detective down in Texas set up a property hearing so the court could confirm the legal ownership of the trailer. This he said was just a formality, but to me it was much more than that it was the return of part of our lives that was stolen from us. I had never been to a court hearing before and really did not know what to expect. I was not sure what to bring so I downloaded all of my photos, documents, e-mail conversations, police report, and ownership papers, pulled all the hard copies of everything from the day we decided on the trailer, had the original brochure still saved. I created a CD of photos if the need arose. Made copies of the origin documents in case something happened on the trip getting down there. My brother Darren set up a flight for me. I scheduled some time off from work and headed to Texas.

When I arrived in Texas my first trip was to the impound lot to take a look at the trailer. A flood of emotions hit me as I turned the corner and spotted the trailer. There it was after over 5 years, in plain sight. It was not new anymore, looked like it had never been washed. The thief (scourge of the earth) had removed all of the decals but not the adhesive; you could clearly read the lettering where all of the decals were. The wheels were rusted, the tires in bad shape and one of them was flat. The breakaway box had been cut off, the door locks changed, the swinging arm that the side door padlock goes thru was cut in half, The corners and fender’s had been damaged. I looked where the vin number was and was amazed with how much metal they had ground thru trying to get the vin numbers ground off. I started snapping pictures as best I could, thru the extra moisture that was building up in my eyes. The inside was just as used as the outside. You could see that there were large oil leaks from the cars that had been in the trailer. Which is pretty odd considering the guy the police reclaimed it from claimed it was used to haul furniture. I sat there and compared the fingerprint in the wood grain just to be 100 percent positive that this was our trailer, there was no doubt, absolutely no doubt. I was standing in my trailer. They had pealed of the Vanderbeck decal on the back and you could see where that one was as well. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The person that the police recovered it from said he purchased it legally and titled it as a homemade or shop built trailer. So obviously this person did not care if he was possessing stolen property, I don’t think they make a person ignorant enough to think this was a homebuilt. But he was pretty good about putting on a show. And I found out that it was titled to the owner of a furniture store chain, and looks like the guy’s father was a former mayor of a small town there in Texas. Notice I have not provided any names just in case these people are actually stupid enough to be innocent of what appears to me as “possession of stolen property”, Or possibly theft.

When I went to court this young man was there in the courtroom. I was wondering what he would say, if he might say that he was sorry about receiving our stolen property or if he had something to do with it. But no, he was not sorry he was not pleasant, honest, or a morally upstanding person, he was all about himself. He started spewing to the judge that our insurance would have paid for the trailer and that he did not think I should get it back. How naïve. Is that how thief’s think. Do they really think its ok to steel things because the victims insurance will pay for it? Get a grip; it does not work out that way for most average people. I was in disbelief as he kept going on and on about how the insurance would have paid for it. I turned and faced him as he was whining. He would not even look at me, I was furious inside but had decided that my detective had all of my information, including the insurance paperwork that was needed to show that we were not paid for the trailer, and the detective had already told the judge that there was absolutely no doubt regarding the ownership of the trailer. I did not want to get into a debate regarding the practice of my old insurance company and red tape. I was very disappointed but not surprised by this greedy spoiled child like adult.    The Judge told him in a nutshell  “TO BAD” the trailer will go back to the rightful owner, and that was about it. He bickered a bit more and she reiterated “TOUGH LUCK”.

I brought everything that you could think of to court, but in the end the detective already had everything that was needed. Casey and Stephanie went to court with me and followed me over to the impound lot after the hearing was over. On the way to the impound I called Bill the Texas Trailer man, he has always been there for us from moral support to helping us with our trailering needs, we had purchased an open trailer from him after our Haulmark was stolen. And became friends visiting about racing and Mopars. Bill was our best choice for getting the trailer back into shape for the trip to Oregon.

When I arrived at the impound yard I was still shaking from the stress, the excitement and the anger that still consumed me, could hardly sign the release papers. That person who had my trailer for the last several years was heading to the impound lot as well, he wanted to get his plate of the trailer. Which is fine I had already went to the motor vehicles dept and got a trip permit. But I sure did not need to see his sneering face, while he was snapping pictures of my rental car license plates and Casey’s plate, don’t know what he was thinking. The police and my detective Murray were there as well, and to my surprise the original detective from back in 2003 was there. It was rather like a reunion of sorts. One of the original officers on the case is also a racer for the police program. I followed or should I say tried to follow Bill back to his lot, he kept having to stop and air up the leaking tire, somehow I missed one of those stops and flew right by. Thank goodness for cell phones or I might still be driving in circles.  

Below: We would like to send a big thank you! to Bill the "Texas Trailer Man" and his son , thanks guys!

            I think the stress started to go away once the trailer made it to Bills. We sat down visited and started working on the plan for new hub’s tires, wheels, locks, and a breakaway box. It was a whirlwind of a trip and I am grateful to Casey and Stephanie for keeping me calm. I was able to visit Rho a good friend for a quick dinner.  And went to pay my respects and leave a token of love at Travis’s resting place. It was such an emotional trip packed into just a few short days. Getting home was all that I had on my mind that last day. My brother set up an early morning flight and it was time to get home.

 Waiting for the trailer:

We used an Internet shipping site to get bids on shipping the trailer back here. The first one was set up before I even went to Texas. And I confirmed with the shipper as soon as the hearing was over that he could pick it up when Bill was finished with it. Well Bill finished and the shipper picked it up. A few days later, on the day it was to arrive up here I gave the transport company a call to see what time they would arrive. To my surprise he said roughly  “Sorry I tried calling this morning, the trailer is in Texas at my shop”. This guy that was supposed to deliver it himself, but became occupied with another business deal and had one of his guys take it. Well according to the owner his employee blew up an engine on the way and they had to take his truck and bring the trailer back. He said he was busy with business meetings and that he did not know when he could deliver it. Wow! This would have been nice to know a little earlier. Will the trailer ever break the Texas barrier? Is there some sort of bubble that is keeping it there?

            We once again, we got online and put out a request for bids. We found a good transporter with very good ratings and hired him. The trailer was here 3 days after he picked it up. This guy was quick, lickety split quick. Todd now had his first glimpse of the trailer and I knew the memories were flying around like hornets in his head. The waiting is over the future starts now, what to do now with this dirty grungy trailer. The only clean spots on it were the ones where Bill had cleaned of the numbers that the impound lot put on it.

            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above our transport arrived we used u-ship, I would recommend checking the ratings and cancellations before accepting any bid on a shipment. This guy was very prompt and had excellent ratings and very few cancellations.

It needs decals; it needs cleaned, waxed, trim replaced…. Where to start. I wrote Haulmark Trailers a letter and told them our story and that I was looking for the original decals that came with the trailer, including the vin decal with GVW ect. They were great and sent all of the decals free of charge, the whole package. We needed to get the trailer clean first before installing them and tried several products. From recommended ones that were rather expensive to household cleaners, nothing was working short of scrubbing your knuckles to the bone. Again it’s a friend to the rescue. Thanks to Carla we found out about Awesome cleaner. Its at the dollar store, this is no joke that stuff cleaned everything off way easy it was like it’s name “Awesome”. Even cleaned off the decal residue that had been sitting there for 5 1/2 years without getting washed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that we had it cleaned we could install the decals. We have installed a few of them here but may wait on the rest until we have decided on additional graphics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It looks better already. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are going to add some additional graphics, I want to locate some nice large Mopar decals and have also found a website that creates some nice custom work (might have to wait a while for that). But here she is. And I have so many people to thank for helping, never giving up, being there for a friend or fellow racer. There are good people out there!!!

 

Thank you!!!!

Casey and Stephanie you never gave up, you found our trailer and you are great!

Det. Murray thanks for listening and believing and for getting our trailer back.

Bill the Texas Trailer Man for all of your hard work, at to reasonable of price much appreciated.

Brother Darren and Jennifer for getting me to Texas and back, And listening to me all the while.

The Colony Police Dept, for taking a bite out of crime, including Lisa R. for keeping the case open and calling me every year. I still hold hope that you will find the truck, Its not over yet.

Haulmark Trailers for sending all of the decals for the trailer.

Carla for the cleaner recommendation.

My little sister Jojo for helping me understand all those legal terms and processes.

   

Understand this story is not over yet. There is someone out there who knows what happened to our race truck and we are not giving up on that either. My detective down in Texas is still working on the puzzle. It appears to them that the original thief may be in jail at this time, I am just hoping that somewhere someone will be able to help us finish this story and locate our missing race truck.