Family says Calgary mover refuses to return belongings after being charged with uttering death threats
Move from Red Deer to Kingston a nightmare ordeal for former Alberta family
Editor's note: Lisa Egginton contacted CBC News on April 6 to say the mover had informed her the family's belongings are at a storage facility in Port Hope, Ont., about 160 kilometres east of Kingston. The family is planning on picking their belongings up on April 9.
What should have been a dream restart has turned into an ongoing nightmare for a former Alberta family after the man hired to move their belongings to Ontario was charged with threatening to kill them — and now refuses to return their stuff.
The ordeal began in early March for Lisa Egginton, her husband, Greg Morash, and their two children when the family hired a Calgary mover to transport their belongings from Red Deer to Kingston in southeastern Ontario.
After being laid off from his job as an electrician in the oil patch two years ago, Morash had secured work in Ontario.
Egginton and Morash say they paid a 15 per cent deposit when they hired the man at the beginning of the month, then paid the remaining balance when their things were loaded into an 11-metre cargo trailer on March 20.
The plan was for the mover to pull the trailer with a white Ford F-350 pickup while the family travelled separately.
But when the truck began breaking down — the result of tire issues from being overloaded — the mover began demanding more money, said Egginton.
Destroyed a quad
"Originally when he blew the tire on the truck, he asked for $1,000," Egginton said.
"Then the amounts changed. He said he wanted $2,000, then it went to $1,500, then it went back to $2,000."
The storage unit he was at videotaped him destroying it.- Lisa Egginton
The mover also stopped in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where he unloaded one of the children's quads at a self-storage facility to make the load lighter.
"The storage unit he was at videotaped him destroying it," Egginton alleges.
"He had the quad in the box of his truck and he tied the quad to a pole then pulled the truck forward and let the quad fall onto the ground."
'Threatened to find them and kill them'
The mover eventually reached the Kingston area, but refused to return the family's belongings, Egginton alleges.
Along with things like clothing, photos, kitchen utensils and furniture, the family is also missing an ATV and four child-sized quads.
"He basically packed up our whole entire house," she said.
They contacted the authorities when, after some phone calls and texts, the mover "threatened to find them and kill them," Kingston police said in a release.
"The complainants felt it was necessary to get their property before they sent him any more money, so they offered the idea that once he did deliver the property they would look at somehow covering the extra costs," said Const. Cam Mack.
"But he wasn't having any of that. He wanted to be paid right away."
The mover was arrested and charged on March 27 in the town of Prescott, east of Kingston.
Egginton said police told her the man insisted their belongings were put into storage in the Kingston area, but is still refusing to say where.
'Grey area' whether it constitutes theft
Egginton says police told her the mover's failure to return their stuff is a civil matter more than a criminal one.
"It's a grey area at this point whether or not this constitutes theft," she said. "The police at this point have not issued any stolen property or theft charges."
Adding to the confusion, said Egginton, is that when police stopped the mover's truck to arrest him, it was loaded with someone else's belongings, which he had been hired to take from the Ottawa area to Alberta.
The impact it's had on my children is devastating.- Egginton
"Frustrating is an understatement. This is emotionally traumatizing and draining," she said.
"The impact it's had on my children is devastating."
The family found the mover through an online ad, said Egginton.
"He did provide what looked like a legitimate website, so we contacted him by phone and he came out to our residence and did an assessment… and wrote up a formal quote and a contract," she said.
Called 40 storage companies and no luck so far
Egginton has posted pleas on social media, asking those in the Kingston area to keep an eye out for the family's belongings.
She's also contacted more than 40 self-storage companies, but so far has had no luck.
'I'm at the mercy of figuring it out for myself unless the police decide it is in fact theft.' - Egginton
"I'm at the mercy of figuring it out for myself unless the police decide it is in fact theft, but at that point, they would only be able to charge him, they wouldn't be able to force him to disclose the location."
Egginton said she has had several people in Kingston reach out with offers of support.
The mover was released on bail Thursday morning with a number of conditions, including that he have no contact with the family.
Kingston Police did not release the name of the mover. Egginton said police advised her not to disclose his name as it might "jeopardize the case."
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