A Bend family is trying to explain to their three young kids what happened to their cherished toys and all their holiday decorations, after thieves broke into their storage unit and stole it all.
"I feel like they hurt the kids directly," Jessica Hillier said Wednesday from her southwest Bend apartment. "My daughter has cried for three nights now, and she told me some of those Barbies were 'special' -- like they're just going to come back because she said that. Some of that stuff was irreplaceable."
The mom of three is pretty emotional.
Her family's rental is being foreclosed on, and they're looking for a new place to live.
In the interim, she put most of her children's toys and all seasonal boxes, like Halloween costumes, Christmas stockings and ornaments into a unit at Bend Mini Storage on S. Third Street.
But last week, she found a different padlock on her unit, and inside, a jumbled fraction of what she had before.
"All of the children's collectibles, the good toys were gone. And the hardest blow is my daughter -- she's going to be 9 soon and they took all her Barbies, she had over 100 Barbies," Hillier said through tears.
According to Bend police, besides Hillier's report, there have been two other burglaries at Bend Mini Storage this year.
The owners told NewsChannel 21 they are very sorry for what happened, have given the Hillier's a new, stronger lock and say they're working on getting security cameras on the premises.
It's not known how the theft happened, with barbed wire fences, and a security gate that requires a unit number and the renter's phone number to get in, but things happen.
There are three lessons here. First: Get a hefty, circular lock. Hillier had a cheap one that was easily snipped with bolt cutters.
Second, she signed the storage agreement saying she would get renter's insurance -- but didn't.
And check in with your unit often.
Most everything stolen had more sentimental value than anything else, .besides a few antiques.
But it's a tough lesson to teach kids 8, 6 and 2 years old.
"We prayed," said Hillier "And we prayed for them, that they would stop. One of my main concerns is that they're not going to stop without getting caught. They took kids' stuff -- they don't have a moral compass."
She wants to warn others not to make the same mistakes she did.
Because along with toys, was a box of financial paperwork, enough to steal their identity.
"That's very scary," Hillier said. "We can't afford to make ends meet as it is. We can't afford other people's bills."
Bend Mini Storage Manager Lonnie Howard told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday evening they already had hired a security firm to start patrolling the facility, starting Wednesday night, and they will put up signs alerting people to that fact.