'We're never going to get back the baby books'; Coast Guard family's vehicles stolen from Norfolk Navy Lodge

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Posted at 5:21 PM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 10:47:42-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Thieves took almost everything from a U.S. Coast Guard family moving from one assignment to another.

The unthinkable happened when the Crandall family's two vehicles, a minivan and trailer, were broken into and stolen from outside the Norfolk Navy Lodge.

Matthew Crandall, who is in the Coast Guard and previously lived in Tampa, Florida, told News 3 that he and his family were heading to their next duty station in Massachusetts. but stopped in the Mermaid City to get some rest.

"We packed up all our belongings that we care about most deeply, put them in our minivan and towed a U-haul," Crandall said.

The stolen belongings included Crandall's military clothes and accomplishments, as well as family memories like his two young daughters' baby books and footprints.

"We have two daughters. We're never going to get back the baby books, the footprints, all the stuff that we kept throughout the years of them," Crandall said.

But that's not all. Among the stolen items were Crandall's laptop, the family's passports, his wife’s wedding ring and other jewelry.

The stolen items averaged around $30,000.

"I had to drive to a Quick Scrub or something down the street to vacuum the glass out of my car," Crandall said.

Not getting much sleep since Saturday night when he made the terrible discovery, he contacted police and Coast Guard investigators, searching for answers.

"They really didn't give me too much information. It just seems like something where they will eventually see the car on the side of the road," Crandall said.

With no surveillance footage given to the family, the community has stepped in, raising a few hundred dollars to help.

"Everyone has been very positive, just from one Facebook post my wife has made, so it's been very uplifting to see," Crandall said.

Crandall and his wife say they weren't the only targets stolen from, but they remain optimistic.

"I'm hoping with Texas plates on the minivan and Washington plates on the U-Haul, that a big orange U-Haul box might get noticed by the side of the road. I don't care if the car is towed, I just want to get the stuff that's within the car," Crandall said.

As of now, police and Coast Guard investigators haven't given the Crandalls any new updates on the status of their vehicles. They're preparing to drive back to Tampa, Florida, on Monday.