RV Owners Want Justice After Rig Was Turned Into a Meth Lab

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A man angry about his RV being stolen

Many workers spend decades dreaming of how they’ll spend their glory days of retirement.

Jeff Sondrup and his wife had plans to take their Class A motorhome out on as many adventures as possible. They dreamed of seeing the country and experiencing the breathtaking landscapes.

However, those plans were derailed when the couple awoke to discover every RV owner’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, the nightmare only got worse for the adventurous couple as time went on. So what led to the family canceling a summer’s worth of travel plans?

Today, we’re diving into this family’s unfortunate story and how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim. Let’s get started! 

Owners Have Their Expensive RV Stolen

Jeff Sondrup’s neighbor’s security system captured footage of thieves making off with his beautiful Tiffin Class A motorhome. Sondrup believes the individuals responsible were casing the area for some time.

He had the RV in his garage, which sat behind a large locked gate, and had a security system. One can only assume the couple feels a sense of violation and devastation.

Jeff told the local CBS News Colorado, “You work hard all your life to buy something like that so you can travel and enjoy life, and people just take it from you.”

The couple had just returned from Florida and planned more adventures this summer. Although police arrested the individual responsible and the couple had their motorhome returned, they won’t step foot inside of it anytime soon.

An RV being stolen on a nest camera
Source: CBS

Suspect Arrested, but the Nightmare Gets Worse

While hunting for the stolen RV, tips began trickling into authorities, and the local news station picked up the story. There were several reported sightings around Lakewood, Colorado. 

However, the home-on-wheels kept moving from one location to another. Luckily, a week after disappearing, authorities were tipped off to the motorhome’s location by a local storage facility.

While the Sondrup’s were excited to have their motorhome back, it was trashed. Those responsible for taking it had done a considerable amount of damage. In addition, they took more than $11,000 worth of stuff from inside it, and the couple’s insurance policy only covered $5,000.

After finding used propane tanks and needles inside the motorhome, the couple did an at-home test for meth. While their initial test returned negative, the couple hired a professional service, which disagreed with their initial test results. 

Jeff stated, “They told us anybody that goes into that motorhome needs to be in a hazmat suit.”

With the condition of their RV, the Sondrups won’t get to travel anywhere in the motorhome anytime soon. The individual who allegedly stole their rig has an extensive criminal history and is facing charges of second-degree burglary and first-degree motor vehicle theft.

Are RV Thefts Common?

RV thefts are not common, but they do happen from time to time. Thieves typically target smaller travel trailers. A massive Class A motorhome locked in a garage is an incredibly rare RV theft.

Additionally, thieves typically look for the easiest target, usually RVs in storage. They’re packed up and ready to go. All a thief needs is a capable tow vehicle to be on their way in a minute or two. We’ve seen instances where travel trailers were stolen in broad daylight.

How to Protect Your RV from Theft

Thankfully, you can protect your RV from theft. While you can’t fully theft-proof your camper, you can make it more difficult. Let’s look at some important tips you can use to maximize the security of your rig to avoid becoming a victim.

Use a Hitch Lock

If you have a towable RV, consider investing in a hitch lock. Will these devices prevent all thefts? Absolutely not. However, they’ll make it substantially harder for thieves to pull up and connect their tow vehicle to your trailer.

The extra work and increased risk of getting caught aren’t worth it for many thieves. They’ll likely move on their way to find an easier target. And cutting or breaking off the lock will increase the noise and attract attention.

While a hitch lock can’t guarantee to keep your towable RV safe, it is an excellent first layer of defense. If you’ll camp in remote areas or your camper will spend time in storage, having and using one of these devices is a good idea. 

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Install an Alarm System

Nothing will send a thief running faster than an unexpected alarm when they try to steal your RV. You can find various systems, including motion detectors, door and window alarms, and GPS alarms. 

While you may hope you never need to use it, an alarm can be useful when things don’t go as planned. A GPS alarm can make it easier for authorities to locate a stolen camper. Additionally, you can install these devices in inconspicuous locations on a rig that thieves might not consider.

If you want to protect your investment, consider installing an alarm. While these may not always be perfect, they’re effective and can provide comfort when you’re away from your camper.

Use Wheel Locks

Wheel locks are another useful layer of defense you can use to protect your RV from thieves.

These solid-steel devices are similar to the “boot” that parking authorities use when enforcing parking violations. They prevent the tire from rotating, and any attempt to move will do some serious damage.

While it is possible to remove these devices, it won’t be easy. Thieves likely won’t have the necessary tools, and if they do, they’ll attract a lot of attention. They’ll also be in for quite a surprise if they try to haul your camper away without removing them.

Keep in Mind: Do you have noisy wheel bearings? Here’s What Might Be Causing It!

Hide Valuables

Thieves typically look for the easiest way to make a quick buck. Don’t make yourself an easy target by having your valuables on display. Keep your valuables out of sight and secure, especially when not around your camper. Most storage compartments have locks, so use them.

Additionally, if your RV is in storage, remove any valuables that could easily get stolen. Portable generators, surge protectors, and other valuables can quickly disappear.

We recommend not leaving anything in your RV when it’s in storage that you wouldn’t mind replacing if you had to if someone swiped it.

Choose Parking Spots Wisely

A budget-friendly storage spot may save you a few bucks each month but leaves your RV vulnerable to thieves. You want to ensure that a storage facility offers sufficient security to keep your rig safe while you’re not around. 

You don’t want just anyone to have access to the storage facility. If they do, you shouldn’t be surprised if you discover your RV is long gone the next time you want to use it.

Be picky when selecting parking spots and storage facilities. If you get a bad vibe from a place, keep shopping around. They should offer sufficient security measures for accessing the facility and a generous amount of security cameras to monitor things. Cameras constantly record, which can be helpful if something gets damaged or comes up missing.

Pro Tip: Keep your RV secure with these Practical RV Safety Products!

RVs parked in a safe area

Have Adequate Insurance

Like selecting a storage facility, selecting a budget-friendly insurance policy may not be doing you any favors. It may save you a few bucks each month, but you may be disappointed when you file a claim. Cheap insurance policies tend to mean less coverage.

Understand your policy and coverage limitations. You don’t want to discover that your policy doesn’t cover something you thought it did. By the time you file a claim, it’s too late to make any changes to your policy that will help.

Take the time to chat with your provider to ensure you fully understand your policy ahead of time.

Remove Keys

No matter where you store your motorhome, always take the keys with you. Don’t make it easy for the thieves to take off with your camper. 

While there are some complicated ways to start a vehicle without the keys, it’s typically not easy. By storing the keys elsewhere, you drastically reduce the chances of your camper driving off without you.

Additionally, we recommend replacing the generic locks that came with your camper. Manufacturers typically only make a handful of keys for these; thus, you have a good chance a thief could have access to each one. 

They could use them to get into your camper and take off with anything valuable. Upgrading to an RV Lock can reduce the chances of someone getting into your camper.

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Don’t Let Your RV Become a Mobile Meth Lab

Nobody wants their RV to get stolen and become a mobile meth lab. In these situations, the vehicle typically returns trashed and completely ruined, if it gets returned at all. 

Aside from completely gutting the camper after it gets stolen, it’ll likely never be safe to step inside. You can protect your RV and future adventures from thieves by implementing several tips we’ve shared.

Unfortunately, even with all these safety measures in place, bad things still happen. Has a thief ever gotten into your RV?

Last update on 2024-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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