This is a a little off the topic of my other posts, but I recently went on vacation in British Columbia. Me and my girlfriend stayed in Langley. First of all, British Columbia is one of the most beautiful areas I have ever seen. We hiked every trail we could find. Upon driving into the parking lot of one of the nature parks in the area, I noticed a sign that read, “do not leave valuables in your car…” and continued on to say, “last reported break-in was July 31st.” July 31st was only two days before the current day (August 2nd). I thought that was really odd, but we didn’t pay much attention to it because we were in an absolutely beautiful area, and there wasn’t a neightborhood lower than upper-middle class for miles. However, we thought it wise to listen and took all valuables out of the car. After our hike, we returned to find the car intact and nothing stolen.
We left our passports in the glove box because I was afraid that they’d be stolen from our hotel room – I have had things stolen out of a hotel room, but never out of a car. A few days after our first hike, we found an area equally gorgeous with more vertical climb about an hour away. Again, this was far from a poor area. We hiked multiple trails in different sections of the park, and for our final hike of the day we parked near the base and tried to stay on flattish ground. We weren’t gone for more than an hour, but upon arriving back at the car, I noticed the driver’s side window was down a couple of inches. I didn’t remember rolling it down, but did not think much of it. I pressed the electric unlock button on the key but to no avail. I knew something was wrong, but my first thought was that the battery in the key had died. I unlocked the car with the key to find that many of our belongings were gone.
After the hysterics of realizing we had been robbed wore off, we assessed what was missing. Naturally, we were missing my girlfriend’s wallet, which had about $100 of cash and her bank cards in it, and a few valuables like my jeans and headphones. Money and things that can be pawned are understandable – I can live with that, but that’s not all this person or these people stole. They also stole the American change out of the ash tray(doesn’t even work in Canada), our phone chargers, one shoe, my girlfriend’s license, my social security card, my birth certificate, our passports, and OUR BAGELS – things they can’t even use or things we would report stolen and cancel long before they could use them. The sick thing is, these people were more out to give us a bad day than to make money. They had to have known we were Americans and yet stole all of my girlfriend’s ID and all of mine that wasn’t on me even though they could not use it(this obviously made getting back into the US very difficult). They broke the front window to get in causing more monetary damage than they could have possibly stolen out of the car. He/she/they unplugged the battery to turn off the car alarm, leaving us initially with a car that wouldn’t turn on and two dead cell phones (remember they took our chargers) miles away from the nearest phone. We plugged the battery back in and it was almost dead – we had just enough juice to get it started.
Before leaving we looked around for signs indicating that break-ins were common like what I saw in the first park, but we couldn’t find anything. We drove to the first house on the road to call the police and report to the bank that my girlfriend’s check cards had been stolen. Everything seemed to go smoothly, but the person who lived there said that break-ins were very common and locals often dirt bike and mountain bike the area and never leave valuables in their cars.
We were located in the city of Abbotsford which is by no means a low class area. It is a city of 170,000 people and 217+ police officers. Looking back, I can’t help but think that the least they could do is put signs up indicating that break-ins are common. To summarize, we were very ill-informed of the circumstances(very far from solely our fault; warnings were not posted anywhere around the park nor on their official site) and the people who robbed us walked away unscathed and about $125 richer after causing us over $1000 in monetary damage in addition to making us have to go through secondary inspection every time we want to cross an international border(which takes anywhere from 1 to 5 hours longer).