View Full Version : Thief takes trailer with Marine's belongings

08-20-08, 06:33 AM
August 20, 2008
Thief takes trailer with Marine's belongings

Man set to go to Iraq loses almost all in Talleyville

The News Journal

A U.S. Marine getting ready to be deployed to Iraq next week woke up in North Carolina on Monday morning to be told the bulk of his belongings had been stolen more than 400 miles away in a Talleyville parking lot.

A U-Haul containing the possessions of Marine Cpl. Robert Lamica, who is preparing to return to the Persian Gulf next week, was stolen when his father stopped for the night at the Quality Inn, 4000 Concord Pike, state police said. He was taking the trailer from Camp Lejeune, near Jacksonville, N.C., to Northampton, Mass., where Lamica and his wife, Brandy, eventually plan to move.

The stolen items -- valued at about $10,000 -- include Lamica's service dress blues, ribbons, medals and even his Marine sword that was used to cut the couple's wedding cake last February.

In addition to losing his belongings, Lamica also will lose some of the time remaining with his wife before he returns to Iraq.

"Spending our last week together having to take care of this wasn't by any means ideal," Lamica said when contacted Tuesday at Camp Lejeune. "We planned to pretty much just spend time with each other, relaxing and getting some good memories in before I go."

Now, he said, his wife will have to devote time to tasks like canceling credit cards and getting new bank accounts.

They also will have to replace some of their belongings.

All they have left is a week's worth of clothing for Brandy, an air mattress and the gear Lamica will wear when he's deployed.

Lamica's father, Michael, feels responsible.

"I feel like I let them down," the father said.

The couple disagree.

"He did everything right," the younger Lamica said. "No one blames him but himself."

'We lost everything'

The phone woke Lamica and his wife at about 4:30 a.m. Monday.

"We lost everything," Michael Lamica said then. "We lost everything."

Michael and his wife, Shirley, had driven from Massachusetts to North Carolina on Friday to help their son and daughter-in-law pack. The elder Lamicas were moving the newlyweds' possessions to Massachusetts, where Brandy is planning to stay while her husband is overseas.

Lamica's parents spent Saturday packing a standard 6-by-12-foot U-Haul box trailer. They hitched it to his white 2001 Dodge Ram pickup and headed north Sunday, leaving the younger couple to spend their last days together in North Carolina.

As he had done on previous trips from North Carolina, the older Lamica stopped for the night near Wilmington. He parked under a street light in the motel parking lot and turned in for the night at about 8:30 p.m.

Shirley Lamica got up at about 3:45 a.m. Monday to get toiletries from the Dodge.

"She came running back in and asked me if I moved the truck," the elder Lamica said. "I jumped out of bed."

Michael Lamica said he looked around the motel to see if the truck was somewhere else.

It wasn't.

"I was totally freaking out," said Michael Lamica, whose stress medicine also was stolen.

While his wife called police, Michael Lamica called his son.

Brandy picked up the phone and thought her in-laws had been in an accident.

"We knew something was wrong, especially when we heard my dad's tone. He was pretty much hysterical," Robert Lamica said. "He was crying because he knew how hard we worked for everything."

The father proceeded to tell them the truck had been stolen.

"Every time we had a little bit of money, we've been buying a piece of furniture -- stuff that we will put in our house when we build it," the younger Lamica said. "We can't get it back now."

Stolen van found at scene

After hearing about the theft, police began checking the registrations of other vehicles in the lot, said Cpl. Jeff Whitmarsh, a state police spokesman.

A white Ford Econoline van was found in the space next to where Michael Lamica's pickup was parked.

The van was reported stolen Friday from Chimes Inc., on Interchange Boulevard in Newark.

Police said security video captured a few frames of the van pulling up next to the truck, but not enough to see who was in it.

They continue to investigate.

Robert Lamica plans to talk to his Marine supervisors today to see if he can replace some of the uniforms and gear without having to pay the approximate $1,500 they were worth.

But that is unlikely, according to Capt. Carl B. Redding, a Marine spokesman stationed at the Pentagon.

"The Marine Corps does not provide coverage for personal property even during a self-move," Redding said. "It is the Marine's responsibility to insure their items."

The elder Lamica's insurance also won't pay.

"I talked to the insurance company and they are not going to cover their stuff," Michael Lamica said. "And my insurance won't because it wasn't mine and it was in the U-Haul."

Redding said the Marines will offer Lamica and his family help in getting through this difficult time.

"The Marine Corps Community Services can assist by providing counseling from the Family Readiness Officers and the Key Volunteer Network," he said. "Those individuals can help through donations or loans to replace some of the items missing."

A number of community organizations also can provide low-interest loans while the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society can provide a no-interest loan if Lamica qualifies, Redding said.

"I can't say if the thief knew the vehicle was that of a Marine, so all I can say is anytime a Marine loses their personal items to theft, fire, flood or any other means not controlled by them, it is sad and our hearts go out to the families," Redding added.

Lamica is happy that his family will comfort his wife while he's away. But the property loss is hard to take.

"Honestly, the personal memorabilia. The pictures. ... Those are the things that hurt the most," he said. "I don't deserve it."


08-21-08, 08:28 AM
August 21, 2008

Marine, wife cheered by area support

The newlyweds' belongings were stolen. Enter Bank of America, an ex-Marine and others

The News Journal

The wife of a Marine whose personal possessions were stolen from a Talleyville motel earlier this week said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from strangers.

This includes a $5,000 pledge and an offer from a retired Marine willing to part with his dress blues.

"I know he lost a lot of personal photos and stuff like that," said Scott McFarland, 31, of New Castle. "But I figure I could help a little bit by trying to replace his dress blues because I know they're really expensive. I was very proud to wear them because those were our elite uniforms."

McFarland said he left the Marines in 1998.

"I just thank everyone so much who is putting us in their prayers and trying to help us out," said Brandy Lamica. Her personal possessions were stolen along with her husband's, Marine Cpl. Robert Lamica, who is to be deployed to the Gulf within a week. "It's so great that when something like this happens, the way people come together to just try to help you."

A fund was started Wednesday at Bank of America to help the family after numerous people said they wanted to help.

Except for a week's worth of clothing for Brandy, an air mattress and the gear Robert Lamica will wear when he's deployed, the couple lost everything they owned, about $10,000 worth, on Monday when his parents stopped at the Quality Inn, 4000 Concord Pike.

Robert Lamica's parents, Michael and Shirley, had driven from Massachusetts to North Carolina on Friday to help their son and daughter-in-law pack. The son is stationed at Camp Lejeune, near Jacksonville, N.C.

The elder Lamicas were moving the newlyweds' possessions to Massachusetts, where Brandy Lamica will stay while her husband is overseas.

After packing the 6-by-12-foot U-Haul box trailer, the couple hitched it to their white 2001 Dodge Ram pickup Sunday and headed to Massachusetts. The younger couple was to spend their last week together in North Carolina.

The parents stopped for the night near Wilmington and parked under a street light in the motel parking lot. When Shirley Lamica got up early Monday to get toiletries from the Dodge, the truck and trailer were gone.

Furniture the young couple had purchased as well as their wedding memories and his Marine sword, which he used to cut their wedding cake, were in the trailer.

Michael Lamica said his insurance would not pay for the loss. Brandy Lamica said the Marine Corps told her husband they would not pay for his losses, either.

She said people have been calling and e-mailing her with offers of prayers and best wishes.

Frankie Mayo, president and founder of Operation AC Inc., through which more than 10,000 air conditioners have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, has pledged $5,000.

"I'd like to put up half of that money that he lost and challenge people to match that," Mayo said, adding that she also wants to support his unit when it goes overseas.

"That's just the way we are here," she said of Delaware. "Your neighbor needs something, you got to stand up and fill the need, especially a service member. That's just what you are supposed to do."