New Student Gets Harsh Welcome to Santa Cruz County

An Oregon woman's truck, loaded down with her possessions, was stolen in Corralitos this week. Help find it.

A Northwest woman moving to Santa Cruz County to study traditional Chinese medicine had half of her worldly possessions stolen from her this week.

Jane Erbez, who will attend Five Branches University in Santa Cruz, drove from Portland to Corralitos earlier this week with her girlfriend. They planned to stay with friends in the Corralitos hills while the couple apartment-hunted.

She parked her Toyota truck across the street from the Corralitos Market late Monday because it was too weighed down with their belongings to make it up their friends' steep driveway. The plan was to shuttle moving boxes up the hill in the morning.

But eight and a half hours later, the white pickup truck was gone.

"Jane’s life was in the back of the pickup truck—her clothes, dishes, photos, books, massage table and other school supplies," said Michelle Overmeyer, the friend Erbez was staying with. "It is all gone. What a horrible welcome to Santa Cruz County."

Overmeyer, who is married to , discovered the truck missing when she left for work Tuesday morning. A van that had been parked next to the truck was untouched.

Erbez checked with tow companies to make sure the truck hadn't been impounded. It wasn't, so she filed a police report with the California Highway Patrol.

The couple still has about half of their belongings, which were packed in the other car they drove from Oregon. They haven't done a full inventory of what's missing, but Erbez knows her Custom Craftwork massage table, all of her books for Chinese medicine, gardening tools, pots and pans, bike bags and a camping chair are gone.

“This is just a bummer," Erbez said, "but I think we know what we need to do.”

Already, strangers have offered them a bed frame and more. A friend posted about Erbez's plight in the Facebook group Bargains Abound Santa Cruz County in hopes of finding the truck and belongings intact.

Thursday, the women were applying for rentals. Erbez said she hopes things get better from here.

"We’re just trying to find a place to live and do that first, then figure out what we need," Erbez said.

The stolen truck is a small, white Toyota with Washington state license plates. The tailgate is a little scuffed and the Toyota markings are missing from the back. Anyone who has seen it is asked to contact the California Highway Patrol Aptos office at 662-0511.

Shirley Christmore Stroh August 02, 2012 at 10:44 PM
A hard lesson learned! You can't leave anything alone for a minute in this area. Too many scumbags who think everyone else owes them! Do not turn your back on anything of value! Hope they catch them. Everyone needs to be aware of what she lost and watch yard sales and flea markets this weekend
Marina Gagne August 03, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Jennifer, thanks so much for covering this story! There are so many good folks in my hometown community! I am hopeful that it's just a matter of spreading the word and getting the community involved, that folks will step up and help recover some of the stolen belongings. Most people in Watsonville/Corralitos are good hearted, hard working, and honest -- let's not forget that!
frobert August 03, 2012 at 02:39 AM
I have some extra items around my home this poor woman might want. I'd be willing to donate them if she is interested. Is there a safe way she could contact me or others who have items to donate without a bunch of kooks chiming in? I'll look for a post on these pages!
Jacob Bourne (Editor) August 03, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Frobert, can you please send your contact info to jacob.bourne@patch.com? Thanks!
Cathy P. August 03, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Jacob, I might have some extra stuff too. Is there a way to find out what they need?
Cathy P. August 03, 2012 at 03:04 PM
David H. Perez August 03, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Jacob - Agreed. Please let us know what they need.
David H. Perez August 03, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Shirley - Boy, isn't that the truth about thieves around here. My neighbors have even had plants dug up and stolen out of their front yard! I hope we can all help finding this woman's stolen property, or at least help out with some donations.
Jennifer Squires August 03, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Everyone, thanks for the offers of help. In speaking with Jane, she and her partner want to get into their new home before they start accepting donations. They're not sure what all they lost, or will need. But sharing contact information with myself (jennifer.squires@patch.com) or Jacob (see above) is great. We'll update you on the women's situation later this month.
audrey estrada August 06, 2012 at 10:58 AM
this too shall pass and you will acquire more things to replace those lost...just sorry for you cos it hurts the personal and you don't deserve this. . .hang in there, most of us are good in corralitos. you will see... by the way isnt it a beautiful canyon? drive up buzzard lagoon rd. to the TOP, where "jesus left his slippers", look over the range & BREATHE deep.
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