Thieves target non-profit hospice society van in Nanaimo

Thieves target non-profit hospice society van in Nanaimo
WatchNanaimo's Community Hospice Society is shocked and disappointed after a break-in, that badly damaged the non-profit's van. Nanaimo RCMP say break-ins and thefts from vehicles have been on the rise during this pandemic and as Skye Ryan reports, it's now even hitting non-profts hard.

RCMP responded to the Nanaimo Hospice Thrift Shoppe Wednesday after thieves broke into the van belonging to the non-profit.

The suspects smashed open the ignition while allegedly attempting to steal it.

“It’s totally damaged,” said Nanaimo Community Hospice Society’s development officer Connie Galavan.

“I just couldn’t believe it. Like we have so much work to do.”

“That to me is unbelievable,” said Nanaimo Community Hospice Society’s Director of Development Jeanne Fahlman.

“It really is, but I guess these people are desperate and they don’t think about it the way we do.”

The Nanaimo Community Hospice Thrift Shoppe brings the hospice society about $100,000 a year to support hundreds of people who are grieving and dying in the community.

With the store being closed for over a month now due to the COVID-19 crisis, a break in like this is a big blow.

“Especially now when people really need hospice services,” said Fahlman.

“They really do.”

The society’s van was going to be used to deliver purchases for the shop’s newly built online store, which the society hoped would generate income during COVID-19 closures. But now thieves have rendered it useless.

“It’s gone,” said Galavant.

“It won’t start and I’m told it will be quite expensive to repair.”

According to Nanaimo RCMP, there has been an increase in vehicle break-ins like this in the city since the start of the pandemic.

“We’re seeing five or six a day which is a significant increase from what we normally see,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, media relations officer for Nanaimo RCMP.

The crime of opportunity is hitting commercial vehicles and non-profits the hardest since many of them are closed during COVID-19 and have left vehicles parked outside businesses.

“Why a lot of these thefts are happening is because there are very few people left on the street,” said O’Brien.

“There’s less eyes and they can take their time and break into these vehicles.”

RCMP are urging people to move vehicles often and park them where they can be seen.

The Nanaimo Community Hospice Society said it does plan to repair the van and pay insurance deductible that will come out of their already depleted budget.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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