Alberta couple thinks red plates may be to blame for vandalism to van in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Alberta couple thinks red plates may be to blame for vandalism to van in Kamloops

Michelle Massicotte and Andrew Fournier have been living in B.C. in their van since the end of March, and experienced their first negative incident in Kamloops.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Michelle Massicotte
August 21, 2020 - 7:00 AM

A couple from Calgary have been in B.C. since the pandemic began, but think some recent vandalism to their vehicle might have something to do with their red plates.

Michelle Massicotte and her partner Andrew Fournier have been in B.C. since late March and experienced their first unpleasant experience while on a brief stopover in Kamloops.

“We were on the highway heading to an off-grid area because we usually stay outside of cities, and then a guy flagged us down because our bikes were falling off,” Massicotte says. “We got here the night before but we were in Kamloops for less than 24 hours before it happened.”

The couple suspect it happened either at the Aberdeen Mall, where they went in for food, or in the Canadian Tire parking lot.

The pregnant Massicotte waited in the passenger seat while Fournier went to assess the damage. He ended up using a sleeping bag strap to help secure the bikes, valued at $1,800.

Massicotte says it’s hard to tell if the tie-cutting was directly due to their Alberta plates or just part of a spike in bicycle thefts throughout the region in recent years, but she says there was no sign of damage to the bike locks that would suggest theft as a factor.

“We’ve been hearing tonnes of stories about Alberta plates, but it’s hard to say. Were they trying to steal the bikes? It doesn't look like it because they didn’t tamper with any of the locks,” Massicotte says. “We keep hearing horror stories about our plates, but we don't have an address until Nov. 1 to switch our plates.”

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Massicotte and Fournier had been planning a three-year trip around the world, and planned to begin at the end of March. They had already quit their jobs and rented out their Calgary condo when the Covid-19 travel restrictions were put in place.

“We were supposed to be in India March 25, so our flight was two days after they had closed the border, so we had nowhere to live and just our backpacks ready to go for India,” Massicotte says.”We bought a camper van and moved to B.C. because it was negative 15 and snowing in Calgary, and that’s where we’ve been ever since.”

The couple will move into a new home in Salmon Arm on Nov. 1, but say they are unable to get B.C. plates until they have a fixed address in the province. The couple haven’t had any issues while staying in mobile home parks and camping off grid in the province, but say they’ll now always check the exterior of the van before hitting the highway.

“I think all we can really do is check the straps as we drive away and keep extra ones in the van,” Massicotte says.

Check out a video about the couple's Kamloops experience.

Credit: YOUTUBE / Bella Mima and Aspie Traveller

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 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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