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Tempe Firefighter Tommy Arriaga's widow says beloved trailer full of memories was stolen, returned

Posted at 9:21 AM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-29 22:45:29-04

TEMPE, AZ — UPDATE: The trailer has been returned to the police and was later returned to the family according to Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department.

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Back in the spring, Monica Arriaga lost her husband Tommy Arriaga to cancer determined to be work-related.

Thirty-six-year-old Tommy Arriaga, a City of Tempe firefighter, lost his battle to cancer, a loss Monica says "no child should ever have to endure."

Tommy left behind his wife, along with two girls, ages 7 and 4.

Earlier this week, Monica was notified that their family trailer, used to go camping up north, was taken from a storage lot provided by the homeowner's association in their Tempe community.

"The girls love it...that's what we did with Dad," said Monica during an early morning Zoom interview with ABC15. "That was one of his favorite things to do...he'd get off his shift and we'd load up the trailer and we'd take the girls up north to get out of the heat."

Before Tommy's passing, Monica told her husband she'd learn how to tow the trailer in order to continue with the Arriaga family tradition of going up to Northern Arizona for camping. The trailer, she says, is full of memories -- even a crib he built inside the trailer for his youngest daughter.

"They've been looking forward to taking it up north and it was gonna be in the next few weeks; we were gonna go and I don't have it in me to let them down about it being gone," adds Monica.

Sometime before Tuesday, someone broke into the storage lot near Rural and Guadalupe roads in Tempe, stealing the trailer and taking with them the precious memories they had of their late husband and father.

"It's not just a trailer, and it is to whoever took it, but to us, it's a box of memories. He fixed so much on it," she adds.

Monica hasn't given the bad news to the girls, who fortunately are young enough to not know what has happened. She's hopeful someone will report the stolen trailer to police or simply bring it back to where it was taken from, baring her from having to share such heartache.

"It's hard for me to introduce of someone taking this away from them....they've already suffered more than any child should."