A Vernon woman worked past being a victim this holiday season, and saw an opportunity to extend some kindness to the person who was wrongfully in possession of her property.
On Nov. 24, Vernon RCMP officers were asked to assist in retrieving a purse, initially left behind at the Village Green Centre food court. The owner had returned to the mall, however, she did not locate her purse.
“Mall staff were able to relay to her descriptions of individuals who were in the food court at the time,” said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.
“On receipt of the report, police suggested that she attempt to use a locating app in efforts to locate the current whereabouts of the purse and phone.”
The owner did as instructed, and with the phoned location showing via GPS, the owner traced its location to the downtown area and she confronted a woman who matched one of the descriptions given by the mall staff. The woman denied having the purse or any knowledge of the purse and the two went their separate ways.
Following this encounter, the RCMP were also able to pinpoint the cell phone’s location using the Find My IPhone app, which indicated that the phone was now at a residence in Vernon.
Police attended to the residence, where a 48-year-old woman and a 57-year-old man found in possession of the cell phone and the victim’s wallet. The pair was arrested and eventually released without charges after they spoke with investigators. The purse was not located at that time, however, it was turned in to the detachment Nov. 25 after it was found in an alley.
Days later, on Dec. 13, several pieces of identification belonging to the victim, were anonymously returned to the Citizens Patrol office. Attached to the identification pieces was an apology note stating,
Return to police, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, From Desperate.
It was later determined that the note had been written by the 48-year-old woman who felt guilty for having denied having the woman’s property and failing to return the property in the first instance. It was also confirmed that she was the woman who had been confronted by the victim in the first instance of the phone being tracked,” said Moskaluk.
On Dec. 22, after having her property returned to her, Pauline Vankoll contacted the RCMP detachment advising that she wanted to give the suspect a Christmas hamper full of food items and requested that police provide the hamper to the person who had the cell phone and wallet.
Vankoll expressed to the investigators that, she was initially upset when it happened, however, after reflecting while at church, she decided to gather a Christmas hamper, stating,
I’m going to get her a Christmas hamper because I used to walk in her shoes, I know what its like to have nothing and I think that’s why I did what I did. I could feel she wasn’t happy and that she’s struggling.
I thought that showing her love was better than showing her resentment. There’s always a greater side to life if you just look and ask for it.
On Dec. 23, Cst. Kevin Hamilton met with Vankoll and picked up the hamper and delivered it to the couple as per the wishes of Vankoll.
“The couple was extremely grateful for the kindness and forgiveness shown,” said Moskaluk.