$35K life savings lost when woman replaces freezer

One Colorado woman did, and she paid a high price: $35,000.

Renee Reese had stored the cash in her freezer. When Costco replaced the appliance, the money went missing.

Since the beginning of June, Reese, her family, and her friends have been in a battle with Costco to track down cold hard cash — Reese’s life savings that, she says, inadvertently walked out her front door when some delivery people exchanged a defective refrigerator-freezer combo for a new one.

“The financial strain has devastated me and, because I’m so sick, I don’t have any way to recover it,” said Reese. She has an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis, which is increasingly destroying her mobility.

That’s why she needed the new refrigerator. “You’re in here, you’re pulling out a large item without a disability, the doors need to stay open,” said Reese.

That’s also why she used her freezer as a temporary bank for her small business and savings, to limit the number of trips she needed to take to the real bank. “It was a safe place to put it in case there was a fire,” said Reese.

The large denomination bills were in a bag, wrapped in white paper towels and blended with the inside of the freezer door. In a hurry to clean out the old fridge, Reese and her family simply didn’t see it. “I thought my daughter had grabbed it, she thought I had grabbed it, then when I went to look for it to put it back, it wasn’t there,” said Reese.

Reese has since filed a police report after tearing apart her house looking for the missing money. She also says Costco opened a claim for her and said they found the old fridge, but there was no money inside.

Reese is frustrated that Costco has not done more,¬†telling KMGH¬†that she doesn’t understand why Costco has not more aggressively questioned its employees and the four or five subcontractors involved in delivering her fridge. “Who’s checking these people? What if they’re rapists or pedophiles? Or, I mean, nobody knows anything and you can’t talk to them, at least through the experience I’ve had,” said Reese.

In the meantime, Reese wants a resolution and wants the armchair critics out there to understand this is not as crazy as it may sound. “There’s a thousand reasons why I couldn’t get to the bank. I wasn’t physically able to.”

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Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com