Eight-year-old Cali Dustin said she was beaming with excitement when she set out for her school field trip to the Courtenay museum Thursday to explore dinosaurs and fossils with classmates from Port McNeill’s Sunset Elementary.
But just minutes after their arrival after a three hour drive, thieves targeted their bus and belongings.
They arrived after a three hour drive and went inside the museum. With the bus left unmonitored, thieves struck — pilfering their belongings.
“I thought it was going to be fun until all my things got stolen,” said Cali Dustin, a Port McNeill resident.
“The bus driver went in with them and I guess some people broke into the bus and stole her bag and the bus driver’s bag and just anything that was up at the front of the bus,” said Cali’s mother Cortney Cameron.
It happened at about 12 p.m Thursday on Courtenay’s 4th Street.
School District 85 declined to comment on the situation, and wouldn’t say if the bus was locked or not.
Some parents are left alarmed by the theft and say that it mostly targeted the belongings in the front of the bus.
“It made me feel sick for sure. I’m just glad everyone was safe at that point but, just super bummed for her. It was her very first big field trip,” said Cameron.
According to Cameron, the thief made away backpacks, kids clothes, stuffies, and phones.
“Yeah they also stole my pants,” said Dustin. “I was kind of crying because it had a bunch of special stuff.”
“She feels a little violated that someone out there has her stuff and her photos. It’s just really disheartening,” said Cameron.
Walking by the museum Friday, Courtenay resident Michelle Stagg was shocked to hear of the strange theft.
“Nobody should be that desperate, and I think it should be common knowledge in our valley when people start doing that okay,” said Stagg.
“It’s not right to steal things from little kids,” said Dustin.
So the 8-year-old is still hoping to get her stolen backpack returned, as she reflects on her big trip to the city that was anything but the adventure expected.