Man's U-Haul full of memories stolen in Berkeley; surveillance video shows suspects taking off

A Berkeley man is appealing for people to watch for a stolen U-Haul truck, stuffed with irreplaceable family mementos. 

The 12-foot rental vehicle was taken from in front of his house Thursday morning.

"I have to imagine that if anyone knew what was in there, they would not have bothered," said Scott Eidson, who lives on Spruce Street, near the Albany border.  

Eidson drove the U-Haul from Portland, arriving Wednesday night, and left it locked and parked across his driveway.

But when he came out the next day to unload, it was gone. 

"My heart was just pounding," said Eidson, "and I wish I had set my alarm for 20 minutes earlier, and I wish I had taken pictures of everything before I packed it."

Eidson and his sister spent the last three days sorting through their childhood home in Portland.

Their elderly parents are in poor health and have moved to assisted living. 

"Everything had sentimental value and was connected to generations of my family," explained Eidson, describing the U-Haul contents. 

A neighbor's security system clearly shows the theft about 6:30 a.m. Several men try, but fail, to cut the lock of the back of the vehicle.

When they can't loot the van, they hot-wire it and drive away. 

But what they got was nearly worthless to them, and priceless to their victims. 

Aside from a few power tools, an old couch and a coffee table, the load was mostly housewares and memorabilia. 

"Family memories like my parent's wedding pictures, and little things I wanted to bring my kids, like a little desk and little chair," said Eidson. 

He agonizes over the old pictures, the only copies.    

"Too many boxes I opened and saw lots of photographs and figured I'd go through them later, so I don't even know what's in many boxes."

Police ran the license plate on the thieves Cadillac Escalade, but it turned out to be stolen out of Antioch, reported the same morning. 

Eidson has been told if his belongings aren't recovered in the first 24 hours, they probably won't be. 

That prospect, he calls heartbreaking, especially for his frail parents. 

"It was hard for them to part with their house and hard to part with their things, but at least they knew they were going to family," said Eidson. "I have not told them yet. I am holding out hope that it turns up and we'll be able to salvage some of it." 

The U-Haul has an Arizona license plate: AJOO443.

It also has a distinctive decal on the side - large mushroom s- a nod to the state of Michigan.  

Eidson insists he isn't angry at those who ripped him off: 

"They have needs, they have struggles and there are a lot of things that culminated in them stealing this van," he said. 

But he hopes they have a heart. 

"I feel for what got them to this place, and I hope they can also feel the pain this is going to cause me and my family if it doesn't turn up."

Video surveillance shows a man in a stolen SUV just before he steals a U-Haul in Berkeley.

Video surveillance shows a man in a stolen SUV just before he steals a U-Haul in Berkeley.