German visitors lose everything to thief

German tourists Natacha Noirclere and Andres Haller look over some of the donations to be given to them after their belongings were stolen.

German couple Natacha Noirclere and Andres Haller love to explore the American southwest desert on their two-week annual vacations. Yet, Wednesday, the duo, each 53, were taken aback after returning to Fruita’s Pollock Bench-area trail head from a 15-mile hike through Rattlesnake Arches.

The back window of their rental car had been smashed in and all their belongings had been stolen.

That included their medications, expensive camera lenses and all the clothing and personal effects they needed for their stay. In all, about $4,000 worth of items had disappeared.

Instead of just taking a report and sending them on their way, local law enforcement decided to help out.

“They were so nice and so humble and not expecting anything,” Mesa County Sheriff’s Office deputy Ben Marsh said. “I couldn’t just take a report and send them away.”

Instead, a Mesa County Sheriff’s Office victim’s advocate secured a hotel room for the couple on Wednesday night. On Thursday, officials with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office sent out a call for donations, or any help locals might offer. By 1:30 p.m. law enforcement had collected about $730 and some personal items to help send the couple on their way.

They had planned to spend Thursday in Moab, but obviously were sidetracked. They worked Thursday to replace medications and received a new rental car.

“We didn’t expect that at all,” Noirclere explained about the break-in, during an impromptu press conference Thursday at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. “We met so many nice, friendly people. It was a shock. It was totally unexpected.”

Haller and Noirclere had camped at Colorado National Monument and left their tent and camping gear there before hiking on Wednesday.

The outpouring of support further endeared them to the area, they said.

They questioned whether a foreigner burglarized in Germany would have received such a warm response.  They noted there is no equivalent of a victim’s advocate position in Germany.

“The last 24 hours have had some very emotional moments,” Haller said. “This is new for us here. I will say a thousand thank-yous for all the help and all the kindness.”

Haller and Noirclere said having their items stolen won’t keep them from traveling in western Colorado again, or around the Southwest. They have 10 days remaining on their vacation.

“A lot of people make excuses that it happened here, but it happens everywhere,” Haller said of having their vehicle burglarized.


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