Soldier returns to US to find belongings gone

ALVIN, TX It's a good reminder to keep tabs on your stuff, no matter where in the world you are. Sgt. Robert Andrews paid $35 a month to keep his belongings safe at a storage unit while he was deployed. But when he came back this week, he learned it was all gone.

"Twenty-two years of military service, gone," said Sgt. Andrews. "What do you do about that?"

Sgt. Andrews left for a tour of duty in 2006. Forced to leave behind his belongings, he packed them away at Affordable Storage in Alvin.

He said, "My card had been constantly billed up until September of this year."

In September, Sgt. Andrews' credit card was declined. He says Wells Fargo froze his account due to a fraud alert. Days later, Sgt. Andrews says his account was back up and charges went through -- charges except for perhaps the most important one.

"We don't get rid of their stuff just to get rid of it," said storage manager Richard Gonzalez.

Gonzalez says tenants sign a lease agreeing to pay and update changes of address or phone number. There is specific mention of military tenants.

When they got no response from Sgt. Andrews after sending a certified letter, they sold his priceless treasures all for $35.

Gonzalez said, "As long as I can reach him, and I can talk to him, we make arrangements."

"I would say (it was) at least $10,000 worth of stuff, easy," estimated Sgt. Andrews.

The storage unit manager says he holds auctions about three times a year. He says in this case there is no way for Sgt. Andrews to get his stuff back or to be compensated for it.

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