WATCH: A 22-year-old man from the Nanaimo area fell victim to thieves on Canada Day. Some items were stolen from his truck but he found some of those items less than an hour later, in Nanaimo’s tent city. He said crime related to some campers there is making it difficult to support their cause. Kendall Hanson reports.
Austin Ludvigson was enjoying Canada Day when he got a notification on his phone that someone had tried to use his credit card at London Drugs.
“And realized my credit card was in my truck and I left my truck unlocked I think so went running up to my truck and there was stuff everywhere,” said Ludvigson.
His brother’s backpack, a shirt, a hat and medications were also gone.
He said later when he was driving past Nanaimo’s tent city he spotted someone who was wearing the shirt, the hat with and carrying his brother’s backpack.
“He said it was his stuff so I ripped the bag off of him and then we started fighting,” said Ludvigson. “[We] fought for a minute or two. Bunch of people started coming out of their tents started yelling at me so I got out of there before I got attacked.”
Lugvidson reported what happened to the RCMP. But he said he later saw the same man with the stolen shirt and hat. This time when Ludvigson confronted him, he returned the items before running away.
“We’re not harbouring criminals,” said Amber McGrath a Discontent City supporter. “We’re not trying to hide them out.”
Mcgrath supports people living in tent city. She said it’s disappointing to hear some staying at tent city are allegedly committing crimes but says that doesn’t change the need to help the people living there.
“Poverty should be a crime,” she said.
But some business operators in the area say the people staying in tent city are causing more and more problems.
Ed Singer’s dive shop is right across the street. The window in his truck was smashed this morning.
“I do have sympathy for people that are homeless but there’s a crowd down in this area that’s a bad mix,” said Singer.
Meanwhile, Austin Ludvigson said he has had enough.
“I feel like it’s gross and they shouldn’t be there,” said Ludvigson. “There’s a lot of theft I know that’s gone up around the area.”
The City of Nanaimo has handed out eviction notices to the campers but has so far not taken any action to force them out. The city is seeking an injunction to shut down tent city.