Woman begins new life in Alaska after U-Haul was stolen in Everett

EVERETT — Kristen Shaulis is set to start her new nursing job in Alaska on Wednesday.

She went grocery shopping on Monday in donated clothes. For work, she’ll wear donated scrubs. For the ferry ride to Alaska, her two black Labradors, Max and Misty, were given donated doggy windbreakers.

Shaulis, a 39-year-old registered nurse, was moving from Illinois last week when she stopped to spend the night at a motel in north Everett. When she woke up to walk the dogs, her U-Haul was gone, along with nearly all of her personal property and her minivan on the U-Haul trailer.

Everett police alerted media to the theft, asking people to keep an eye out for the U-Haul. Numerous tips poured in to police departments throughout Snohomish County, Everett police spokesman Aaron Snell said Tuesday.

By the end of the day Friday, the stolen rigs were recovered near Lynnwood. Both vehicles’ ignitions were ripped out.

“The U-Haul had a substantial amount of property in it,” Snell said.

Shaulis won’t know for sure what’s missing and what the thieves left untouched until she can personally go through everything in the vehicles. With her approval, Everett police are releasing the vehicles to a family friend until she can make it back to Washington.

Shaulis got the call that police had recovered her U-Haul while she was being driven to the ferry terminal in Bellingham.

Her driver was Kristi Myers, chief development officer at the regional chapter of the American Red Cross. Myers has two dogs, too. She knew Shaulis’ pups would fit in her Jeep. She and her Red Cross coworkers donated dog kennels, dog food and treats.

It wasn’t the kind of situation that would normally fall under the Red Cross’ territory, but the local employees just wanted to help, Myers said Tuesday.

“We at the Red Cross felt it was the right thing to do, to at least reach out to her to see what we could do,” she said.

In addition, Providence Regional Medical Center Everett donated scrubs for Shaulis to wear at her new job.

“We were happy to help,” hospital spokeswoman Cheri Russum said.

When Myers and Shaulis got to the ferry terminal in Bellingham, about a half-dozen people were waiting. They gave Shaulis the dog-jackets, shoes and envelopes of money. It was a bit overwhelming, Myers said.

“There were so many people with so much stuff,” Myers said. “One woman had a brand new pair of nursing shoes, and they just happened to be the right size. It was just crazy.”

Shaulis’ new job is on an Indian reservation in Metlakatla, a small town on Annette Island southeast of Ketchikan. The tribe gave her a truck to use and a furnished place to stay while she gets settled, she said. As of Tuesday afternoon, it wasn’t clear when she would be able to collect her belongings from Washington.

“The people here have been fabulous. Oh my goodness, they’ve been so kind,” she said. “It’s really been a godsend to be able to sleep in a bed and have furniture just temporarily until I can get whatever it is that I have back.”

She got on the ferry at 4:30 p.m. Friday. It departed at 6. About an hour later, she was out of range for cellphone service. The blackout lasted until Sunday morning.

“I had a ton of voicemails. I had emails. I had texts,” she said.

She’s gotten Facebook friend requests from long-lost connections and complete strangers.

People have recognized her from the media coverage. The woman who checked out her groceries on Monday said, ‘Oh, you’re that girl!”

Her dogs are doing better, too, eating and drinking water and playing again after a stressful trip.

“Yesterday when I went to do my grocery shopping, every piece of clothing I had was donated,” Shaulis said Tuesday. “I just felt very fortunate. Even today, everything I’m wearing is donated. When you don’t have your things, and you don’t have your things around you, you just feel lost. But I’m glad I have clothing and I have food and I have housing.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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