A woman in B.C. says she’s “disgusted” after her car was looted three times in the same hospital parking lot over a three-week period while she was visiting her dying brother.
Jean Jones drove from her home in Leduc, Alta. to Vancouver just before Christmas in order to say goodbye to her brother Alan Johnson. Johnson has Stage 4 colorectal cancer and has been staying in the palliative care ward at St. Paul’s Hospital in the city’s downtown.
During the three weeks she’s been in Vancouver, Jones’ car has been broken into on three separate occasions in the hospital lot while she was inside with her brother. Her laptop, suitcase, clothing, GPS and groceries were all taken during the thefts. Despite losing thousands of dollars of belongings, Jones told CTV Vancouver she won’t claim insurance because the deductible is too expensive for her to afford.
“I’m not rich. My car’s 18 years old,” she said on Friday. “I don’t have money. All of this is stuff that I’m going to have to replace. It took me a long time to get this stuff and it’s gone in seconds.”
St. Paul’s Hospital told CTV Vancouver that there are cameras in the parkade and that security guards patrol the area 12 times a day. Despite these measures, thieves were still able to steal Jones’ possessions from her locked trunk.
“They’re [the thieves] pathetic. They’ve got no morals,” Johnson said from his hospital bed. “They’ll steal from anybody. It bothers me. Neither one of us have any money. She’s spending everything she has to be here.”
The thefts make up a quarter of the reported robberies in the hospital parking lot since April and signal a greater problem. Automobile burglaries in Vancouver have increased 38 per cent from 892 cases in November 2016 to more than 1,200 in November 2017, according to police statistics.
“The majority of them [thieves] were supporting a drug habit. They took that risk in order to get something to sell [or buy] drugs,” VPD spokesperson Jason Robillard said.
Police said the bulk of the incidents, such as Jones’, have been concentrated in the city’s downtown.
“We recommend people do their best not to have anything valuable in their car at all.”
Even though her vehicle has been targeted, Jones said she’s still glad she came to Vancouver to spend time with her brother during his final days.
“It means a lot,” Johnson said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Jon Woodward