Sarah Willets Staff writer
November 15, 2013
LUMBERTON — A Virginia woman who is eight months pregnant was robbed of almost all of her belongings during a recent stop in Lumberon while moving to be near he fiance, who is in the military.
But Kim Ober isn’t bitter toward Lumberton, Robeson County — or even the culprits.
“As heartbroken as I am and as empty as I feel, they must lead some really, really horrible, sad lives,” said Ober, whose car and U-Haul truck were stolen from the parking lot of the Hampton Inn on Wintergreen Drive on Sunday morning.
With the help of loved ones and strangers alike, Ober is taking the setback one day at a time.
“It’s a lot to do,” she said. “Transferring physicians when you’re 33 weeks pregnant is hard to do on its own and moving is stressful for everyone.”
Friends have set up a fund-raising page called the Kim Recovery Fund, on Fundly.com to help replace her belongings. As of Friday afternoon, 253 people had donated $11,813 — and new donations are pouring in each hour.
“There’s a level of shock and awe,” she said. “But as much shock I’m in with the negatives, I’m in just as much shock with the positive response my friends and family have given me.”
Ober was moving from Lakeland, Fla., to Virginia Beach, where her fiance, Greg, is stationed at a naval base. Greg is currently deployed overseas and is set to return home in the next few weeks, she said. The couple has been living apart for about a year and half.
Ober and a friend stopped at the hotel about 9 p.m. on Nov. 9, exhausted after being on the road for nearly eight hours.
“I basically took in my purse and my tooth brush,” Ober said.
At 6:30 the next morning, they found only shattered glass where the U-Haul, which was towing Ober’s Jeep, had been parked.
“It was instant … I knew immediately somebody stole it,” she said. Everything she owned was gone, from clothes and jewelry to a stuffed Mickey Mouse her late father gave her when she was born and custom-made gifts from the baby shower her friends threw a month before.
“Everything that they bought me was in there, my father’s urn was in there, all my important documents, everything my father had ever given me.”
Ober called 911, her insurance provider and U-Haul and made arrangements to rent a car. She had renter’s insurance in Florida, but it ended when she moved out. Her automobile insurance doesn’t cover anything that was in the truck, neither does her insurance with U-Haul, since the company wasn’t liable for the loss. The $879 U-Haul rental fee must be paid, she said.
According to report filed with the Lumberton Police Department, a hotel surveillance video shows one person exiting the passenger side of a Dodge Charger, smashing the window of Ober’s U-Haul and getting in the truck. It took about one minute, said the report. The thieves were on and off the property in six minutes.
Although thefts at hotels along Interstate 95 aren’t uncommon, according to police Capt. Terry Parker, commander of criminal investigations with the Lumberton Police Department, this was stands out because of all that was stolen.
“That’s rare,” he said.
The U-Haul truck was found burned in Orangeburg County, S.C., about a two-hour drive from Lumberton. Her Jeep was found, also burned, farther south in Williamsburg County, according to a police report filed with the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday. So far, there are no suspects.
“From what the deputies told me, it was not a little fire,” she said, noting they were able to recover the urn that has her father’s ashes.
For Ober, being angry is a waste of time.
“People are people and everybody makes mistakes,” she said.
Instead, she’s focused on getting her new home ready before the baby arrives and marrying Greg “as soon as possible,” she said.
“I’m going to come out of this better and stronger and a more positive person,” she said. “They’re not going see a positive end to their story for a long time whereas mine is right around the corner.”