Customers left in limbo after clock repairman dies in Harvey
SOUTH HOUSTON, Texas – A respected clock repairman passed away trying to protect his South Houston shop when Hurricane Harvey hit.
While his loved ones are still mourning their loss, dozens of customers are also at a loss.
In the man's shop were hundreds of clocks and heirlooms. Many went missing.
"Seth Thomas was a clock maker from the early 1700s," said Erik Sealander.
The Katy native drove more than an hour to take his clock to Accu-Tyme, a shop known for its work in fixing old, rare clocks.
Sealander trusted the repairman, Alex Sung, with his mother and father's precious gift -- a Seth Thomas grandfather clock that Sealander's father had given his mother.
"It's just been in the family for 40-50 years. So there is a certain sentimental value, and monetary value of course," said Sealander.
On Friday, the space where the clock was in his home is empty. All Sealander intended to do was cherish the clock.
"I wanted to get it cleaned and repaired so it would operate for a lifetime more," said Sealander.
Outside the South Houston shop were notes posted by customers asking for their items back. The owner was nowhere to be found.
"[Sung] said it was ready. I followed up a week after the storm, and he just wasn't around," said Sealander.
Little did he and other customers know, their trusted repairman was one of the first to lose his life because of Hurricane Harvey. Houston police said Sung had been found inside his shop. Sung had drowned protecting the shop.
"May he rest in peace. It's a tragic story," said Sealander.
The tragedy continued for clock owners. Sung leased the shop space from Regional Properties Texas. The building owners said they received so many calls from customers looking for their items, they scheduled a day for customers to look inside and take their things.
"They felt the same way. They were things of significant sentimental value," said Sealander.
Debi Schieb said her grandfather clock was worth $20,000. She also attended. However, when they got to the shop, they were shocked. Their precious items were not there.
"Everything of value was taken from the store. It was completely ransacked, and we have no clue who did it," said Sealander.
"There were many people saying, 'See that hook right there? That's where my clock was hung the last time I looked through the store window,'" said Schieb.
Missing clocks. Missing answers. Time ticking away.
South Houston police said they are pursuing leads. Regional Properties Texas representatives said they do not know what happened to the missing items. They are hoping people will contact them looking to take back their belongings. By December, everything will have to be thrown out, unless they find another solution.
For Sealander, he hopes police are able to find who it is and return his clock.
"They're just irreplaceable. It's just an item that can't be found anymore," said Sealander.
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