NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Medals and memorabilia earned over 22 years are gone after a family's U-Haul was stolen from a hotel parking lot late Wednesday night. They moved to Charleston less than one week ago from New York and were staying at the La Quinta Inn in North Charleston.
Photos of her two sons and her husband's military memories are what Tinisha White says she will miss the most.
"His 22 years in the army. I think that has been one of the hardest. You can't replace that."
"I've collected from different countries, Africa, Hungary, Republic of Georgia, just everything, but I realize it's a blessing that no one got hurt," says Edward White.
The Whites are literally living out of a suitcase after their 26-foot U-Haul was stolen late Wednesday night from the parking lot of the La Quinta Inn on Ashley Phosphate Road. They say on Wednesday they came back after dinner around 8:30, parked the truck with the back against this wall and secured it with a heavy duty lock.
"It was instant panic," says Edward. "I knew what happened."
"I was just devastated when you realize that your whole life is in this U-Haul, and you have no clue where it's at," says Tinisha.
According to the North Charleston Police Department, the truck was found in Kingstree, empty. Investigators say both the ignition switch and driver's side window were damaged.
"We drove around. We knew it was slim chance that we would actually spot the vehicle or anything, but at that moment you just want to do something."
On Friday the whites moved into their new home. Their sons will join them Saturday, ready for a fresh start.
"They have been outstanding. They realize we're all together. That's what matters. They love the new home that we got even though it's not filled with materials. They know it's filled with love."
Edward says, despite what happened, he doesn't regret their decision to move.
"I'm looking forward to coming down and fishing and touring Charleston, and we still have a great outlook on being here."
According to the staff at the hotel, there are no cameras outside. The Whites estimate their loss to be roughly $20,000.