Kerry Schuller heard noise coming from outside her home in the Vancouver Heights neighborhood in the early morning hours on Friday. It was a thief or thieves stealing her old, custom-painted travel trailer.
Schuller said she thought the racket was something much more benign. Possibly, a newspaper carrier. But when she arose, her beloved possession was missing from the side of her house.
She does not lock the camper beyond a series of safeguards. The Classic Terry travel trailer has seen more than two decades of use on the road, and its exterior is decorated with paintings and words meaningful to Schuller.
“It’s very old and very personal, because it’s all decorated. So, I wouldn’t have suspected that anyone cared for it. But, they must have,” she said.
Her neighbor also heard a noise outside around 3:30 a.m. Schuller said the neighbor told her that she thought she was prepping the camper for a trip to the beach. Another neighbor relayed that a couple hours earlier, they spotted a car prowling on the street.
Unfortunately, no one in the neighborhood had cameras running to catch the thieves in the act.
All that remained in the space where the camper once sat was a damaged attachment that raised and lowered the vehicle.
Schuller reported the theft over the telephone to the Vancouver police. She said police said they’d likely spot it, given its unique paint job, and ensured her they’d do everything to see it returned.
Schuller bought the trailer 20 years ago in North Carolina. She had time on her hands, so she decided to make it her own. She painted the words “Sew What” on the front and “Sisters On The Fly” on the back. The statement on the back is a reference to a fly-fishing group she once belonged to, but it came to simply reference travels on the road.
“I took it back and forth across the country,” Schuller said.
She also painted a friendship quilt – a collection of squares mainly depicting patterns in hues of blue and green – on the driver’s side. The passenger’s side was painted by a friend and depicts Sunbonnet Sue, another textile image that has been popular for centuries, leading a toy horse.
“I always got lots and lots of people asking me about it, mainly quilters,” she said.
Schuller recently spent around $7,000 to replace the roof of the trailer. The workers who repaired it suggested she buy a new travel trailer instead of investing more money into the Terry. She was opposed to making a new purchase; the camper has too much sentimental value.
“It’s just devastating. I hope I get it back,” Schuller said.
If you spot it, call 911.