When Mark Higgins and Becky Szenk decided to move, they had a lot on their minds.
The couple had recently gotten engaged, and they wanted to find a place closer to the pub they owned together. After a fairly long search, they found the perfect home. There was just one more detail to take care of: They needed to find a moving company.
Fortunately, an online friend recommended a mover, Lee Green Removals. When Mark and Becky checked the company out, they were impressed. The mover’s social media pages featured plenty of positive reviews.
That’s where this story takes a bizarre turn. Mark and Becky hired the moving company, and two men showed up in a van to load up all of their possessions. That part went perfectly.
The removal men were racing in and out of the flat. We just thought they were being very professional, Becky told the Telegraph. “It all happened so quickly, around 45 minutes from start to finish.”
Mark recalled talking to one of the movers, who’d noticed the couple’s daughter looking at them from a window. Mark says the mover told him that he was moving quickly in order get back to his own young son.
But then, Mark and Becky waited for the movers to arrive at the agreed-upon location.
They waited. And waited.
After an hour, they began to realize that the movers weren’t coming. They’d been swindled out of nearly everything they owned.
In total, Mark and Becky say they lost over $12,000 in personal property.
They reported the theft, then began the spread the word of their ordeal online. After all, they didn’t want anyone else to go through what they’d been through. In addition to furniture and other expensive items, the thieves had made off with Becky’s engagement ring.
Then, something amazing happened. Strangers began donating items and cash to help the young family get back on their feet. Dozens of items poured in, including shelves, a washing machine, a refrigerator, sofas, baby clothes, a chest of drawers, and, of course, money. Within days, they’d recouped about $5,000 in cash alone.
The donations that we have received have been so overwhelming, Becky told The Mirror. “We lost our faith in humanity when we lost our belongings, but it’s been restored and more by the way people have responded.”
One of the more touching displays was a stranger who brought Mark and Becky some candles; she said that she knew the couple didn’t need them, but thought that they’d make their new place “more homely.”
Business also picked up at the couple’s pub, and regulars began bringing in home items to help Mark and Becky get settled in. Now, the two can look forward to their marriage—and focus on raising their young daughter.
As the story went viral, police focused more resources on finding the fake movers. They arrested a 36-year-old man shortly afterwards, although he has not been convicted of a crime.
“For us, it’s been a big lesson to learn,” Becky told the Daily Mail. “I just hope others can be more careful about trusting people they book over social media as I would hate for this to happen to anyone else.”