Antiques dealer’s van, goods stolen from hotel parking lot
ORANGEBURG, S.C. – It has happened all too many times in the past – an antiques dealer traveling to a show hundreds of miles away spends the night in a hotel en route to their destination and awakens to find their vehicle and merchandise have been stolen. This time the victim is Michael Whittemore, an Americana dealer from Punta Gorda, Florida, who was headed north to the 56th Annual New Hampshire Antiques Show in Manchester, New Hampshire.
On the night of July 29th, Whittemore stayed at the Country Inn & Suites in Orangeburg, S.C., parking his Ford van and 16ft covered cargo trailer on the premises. Whittemore took pains to ensure the trailer’s contents were secured, but when he walked out into the parking lot on the morning of July 30th, he discovered his vehicle and trailerful of antiques were gone.
According to published reports, the value of Whittemore’s goods was somewhere in the vicinity of $300,000-$400,000. The contents consisted of folk art, New England furniture, paintings, architectural garden antiques and valuable weathervanes.
The stolen vehicle is a 2010 E-350 white Ford Club Wagon van. Based on hotel surveillance video, the thieves hot-wired the van and simply drove off with it, trailer in tow.
Whittemore told a reporter from WLTX-TV in Columbia, S.C., that the vehicle is not of primary importance to him. “All I want back is the stuff, vans are replaceable, trailers are replaceable, but these things are one of a kind,” he said.
Anyone with information regarding the theft is asked to contact the Orangeburg Sheriff’s Department by calling tollfree 1-888-CRIMESC (274-6372).
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