Local

Thieves steal Seattle visitor's SUV with dog's ashes inside

SEATTLE — As a traveling X-ray technologist working in Seattle for three months, Peggy Hanigosky came into town looking for a hotel with a secure parking lot to protect her car loaded with personal belongings.

When she checked into the StayBridge Suites on North Aurora Avenue, she figured she'd found that peace of mind. In early February, a hotel guest hit the overhead secure gate and damaged it.

"I saw the garage gate was up. I questioned the staff and I was told it was going to be repaired," she said. But after several days, she says the gate was still open.

"The lot was open to everybody," Hanigosky said -- everyone including the thief seen on surveillance driving Hanigosky's rental SUV away last Thursday morning.

The camera does not show the driver, but the rear passenger window is clearly gone. Almost everything Hanigosky traveled with was inside the car.

"Everything was in there," she said, including "presents from family members that they sent me for Christmas. It's just devastating."

But Hanigosky's heart breaks when she talks about "Pebbles," the rescue beagle she took on the road for months at a time.

"She was a stray dog to start with," Hanigosky said. "That's why I just feel so bad that I let her down."

When Pebbles died recently on a work trip, Hanigosky moved on with Pebble's ashes in a flower-decorated urn.

"I had those ashes in the car with me and now they're gone," she said. "She's gone. Twice."

The car is a newer red Nissan Rogue with New Mexico license plates NMZ-353. But it's not the car she wants back. It's the contents -- her fringe boots, her clothes, and photos of the dogs she cherishes like family.

"I mean, it's not worth anything to anybody but me!" she said.

Hanigosky is hoping locating the car might lead to her belongings. Hanigosky is asking anyone who sees the car to call 911.