AURORA, Colo – It was a rocky relationship when they dated, but a little less so when they decided to just be roommates.
The rockiness reached a peak when Mary Hilleary moved out last Friday.
That’s when Jerry Prado placed an ad on Craigslist, inviting people to help themselves to the belongings Hilleary had placed in a moving POD, before she went back to Texas, to start a new job.
Hilleary told Denver7, via Skype, that she met Prado in Texas and that they moved to Colorado so she could be close to her daughter, who had just had a baby.
She said they broke up shortly after the move, because of his drinking.
“When he gets inebriated, he gets very violent,” she said, “but we stayed together as roommates because I signed a two-year lease.”
Knowing the lease would expire next month, Hilleary began looking for a new job and found one in Texas.
She had to start working right away.
Prado gets angry
“She only gave me two hours-notice,” Prado said.
Hilleary said she knew Prado would get angry, so she waited until Friday to tell him, because she didn't want any “retaliation.”
“I was afraid he would do something to my dogs,” she said.
When asked if he’d harmed the dogs before, Hilleary replied, “In the past, when I wasn't home, he’d put them in a box out in the snow.”
Hilleary said she leased a moving POD and placed her furniture, photos, china, jewelry and clothing inside.
“The POD people were supposed to deliver a key with the POD,” she said, “but they didn't, so I called them, and they said, they wouldn't be able to bring it until after I left.”
She said she asked Prado if he’d mail her the key and that he agreed to do so, initially.
“He texted me and said I got the lock, give me your address and I’ll send you the key,” she said. “Two hours later, everything changed. He started to tell me to ‘get your pod out of here.’ I told him they were coming to pick it up Tuesday. He started calling me horrible names.”
Prado then placed the ad on Craigslist, and within minutes people started showing up to take what they wanted.
“I didn't believe him at first,” Hilleary said. “I thought he was bluffing, so I asked him to send me pictures.”
He sent her several pictures of people rummaging through her belongings, and then texted, “It’s all gone.”
Family photos, heirlooms gone
“Her whole life was just given out to strangers by a cruel, cruel man,” said Tracy Welti, Hilleary’s daughter. “Including my grandmother’s diamond. She died (of breast cancer) when my mom was eight… so we don’t have a lot left (from) her. The earrings that I wore to my wedding, they were my mothers and they were in there.”
“This is pure evilness,” Welti added. “I would never do that to somebody. I would never wish it on anybody. I don’t know why someone would do this.”
Welti has started a GoFundMe account to help her mother get a new start.
Hilleary said she called police, but they didn't respond until she called a second time, and told them she now had pictures.
She said by the time officers arrived, most of her belongings were gone.
Police Department spokesman William Hummel said there is an open investigation and that “charges could be filed.”
He said, she said
There is apparently much more to the story.
Prado said Hilleary “abandoned” him when he had a heart attack three weeks ago. She said she saved his life, that she called for help. He later admitted to Denver7 that she did.
Prado also said that Hilleary owes him thousands of dollars.
“I financed her daughter’s first home,” he said. “They have drained me of all my financial resources.”
Hilleary told Denver7 that it’s the other way around.
“He always shorted me every month on rent,” she said, “about 3 or 400 dollars. I would pay the rent and then he’d have to pay me, and he always shorted me. No, he never loaned me any money.”
Hilleary said she hopes that people will see this story and return the items that have sentimental value.
She said she doesn't care as much about the furniture and TVs as she does about the jewelry and china.
“There was some old china from Ireland,” she said. “It dated back to the 1800s. There were only a couple of pieces, but they were my great-great grandmother’s.”
The retired nurse said she had her family pictures stored in the POD, as well as her nursing caps, nursing pin and jewelry.
“Thank you ahead of time,” she said, in her plea to those who responded to the ad. “I will post something on Craigslist to let people know where they can take the items.”