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Spirits low after theft at Vernon fundraiser

Marie Hayden and her daughter with some of the Angel Dresses.
Image Credit: Marie Hayden
June 17, 2016 - 5:30 PM

VERNON - An apparent theft at a fundraising event in Vernon has left organizers with dampened spirits.

Guests arrived last night, June 16, at an event called An Evening Among the Angels, but it wasn’t long before one of the attendees realized her purse was gone. Event organizer Marie Hayden says they looked everywhere at the venue, the Mackie House in Coldstream, before realizing the purse had likely been stolen.

“It was a disruption for our evening and a complete disappointment for our guests,” Hayden says.

The purpose of the event was to raise money for grief counselling services for families dealing with the loss of an unborn or newborn child. Hayden’s program, Okanagan Angel Dresses, takes donations of wedding dresses and formal gowns to make tiny dresses for babies who have passed.

Multiple guests reported seeing a Caucasian man, roughly 5’8” with brown, greasy hair pulled back in a bun at the event. He was not on the guest list, and avoided a photographer taking pictures of everyone arriving, Hayden says.

Reports suggest the man hopped on the bus when it was picking guests up at Polson Park at 6:30 p.m. Other guests say he arrived on a blue bike.

“It was a white affair and he was wearing a white shirt and white shorts. He fit in,” Hayden says.

By 7 p.m. organizers realized the purse was gone, as well as the man, and began notifying the RCMP. The woman had to cancel her credit cards and Blackberry, which were inside the purse, Hayden says.

“It put a damper on the evening because here you are trying to console a woman,” Hayden says. “It is mind blowing that someone would have the audacity to do something like this.”

Hayden is asking people to keep an eye out for the man and to report any information about the alleged theft to the Vernon RCMP.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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