SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – A stolen RV was recovered last week in Lynnwood, the owners said it was found with 9 people living inside. Their home on wheels had been turned into a drug den filled with stolen merchandise, that they said is a total loss.
“When I asked police what the sweet smell was, they said that was from smoking heroin inside the RV,” said Emily Leigh-Piestick. The RV owner said walking through the camper left her speechless.
“You don’t anticipate that someone is going to steal a home on wheels essentially,” she said.
The Piestick’s RV was from an RV center in Snohomish while waiting for repairs more than a month and a half ago. She said police were tipped off to its whereabouts after an unrelated 911 call. They found the RV around 10 miles from the Piestick’s home, completely destroyed.
“I was actually warned by police about how bad it was going to be inside. But I don’t think anything prepared me for how bad it was,” she said.
This year, Snohomish County Crime Task Force reported a 40 percent jump in vehicle thefts.
“It’s only becoming more popular,” said Alex Porcincula, talking about the crime. Porcincula sells car security systems at Car Toys in Tukwila, he said customers come in looking for ways to protect their cars and RVs from thieves.
“When you have an RV, the RV itself is worth a lot of money. Then you have to imagine everything that is in there is worth a lot of money,” he said.
For under $200 dollars, you can get a GPS locator that would work in your car or RV. For another couple hundred, Porcincula said his top seller is a combination car start and alarm system that also uses satellite GPS to locate your car if stolen.
“In the app itself, you can pretty much pull up a Google map and set a location and see where the vehicle is at,” he said.
The Piesticks are looking into security systems for their new RV, which was paid for with the help of insurance. They said they wanted to warn others RV theft can and does happen in Snohomish County.
“If they were able to take off in our RV that easily and that quickly and not leave behind any kind of evidence, I think they will do it again,” said Piestick.
There are popular auto security systems that work on FM radio frequencies. However, experts say they may not work when needed in RVs. Many places people like to camp, don’t have reliable radio service, which could leave you unable to find your RV if stolen.