U-Haul full of mammoth tusks, other rare items stolen from SeaTac hotel

A U-Haul truck containing many rare and unique items, including mammoth tusks and ivory, was stolen from the parking lot of a SeaTac hotel on May 30. The items are valued at $150,000 collectively.

"We are a little naive, I guess, living in a small town where we don’t lock our doors," Doug and Olga Borland said.

They’re from Sitka, Alaska, and still can’t believe their U-Haul truck filled with one-of-a-kind artifacts was targeted and taken.

"The financial hit is going to be considerable," Doug Borland said. 

The Borlands import unique items from around the world to Seattle, but the truck bringing their latest goods back to Sitka was taken when their drivers stopped for the night in SeaTac. 

"Around midnight, the cargo truck was stolen with basically a half a year of our inventory inside it, over 4,000 pounds and close to 100 boxes that were critical to our year," Doug Borland said. 


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Surveillance video captured a white sedan pull up, someone get out of the car, then walk around the U-Haul. They then leave and come back with another person. From there, they break into the U-Haul and drive away. 

"The car was locked and there was a lock on the back of the truck, they knew how to open the doors and how to hotwire the truck," Olga Borland said.

Inside the truck were items like traditional Russian nesting dolls, hand painted and carved chess sets, and fossilized woolly mammoth tusks and ivory.

"Mammoths went extinct 12,000 years ago in Alaska and Canada, and therefore it is one of the only legal ivories in the world, it is not restricted because it is a fossil," Doug Borland said.

The tusks alone were valued at more than $50,000.

"That’s out of their pocket, that’s not what they would’ve made with selling the stuff," said Sgt. Jason Houck with the King County Sheriff’s Office.

Sgt. Houck talked with FOX 13 about why crimes like these are so prevalent.

"The U-Haul trucks are basically an advertisement that says, ‘Hey, there is a lot of stuff in here or there could be a lot of stuff in here,’" Houck said. "They recognize there’s a possibility of a big pay day in the back." 

If you are driving a moving van in the near future, he has some tips.

"Do your best to secure that, park it in well-lit areas, if you’re at a hotel, park it close to your room, park it close to the front entrance and just be aware," Houck said. "These folks didn’t do anything wrong."

This past Friday, Tacoma Police spotted an abandoned U-Haul. It turns out it was the same U-Haul stolen from the Borlands, but Houck told FOX 13, it was empty.

The King County Sheriff's Office says the suspect's vehicle is believed to be a white Nissan Versa.

If you know anything about this, contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. A cash reward of up to $1,000 is offered for any info that leads to an arrest and charge filed in the case. 

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The Borlands are also offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any recovery of their stolen goods.


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