Vernon theft victim chooses kindness over anger - InfoNews

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Vernon theft victim chooses kindness over anger

Theft victim Pauline Vankoll gives Const. Kevin Hamilton a food hamper for the suspect.
Image Credit: RCMP
December 27, 2016 - 8:27 AM

VERNON - After becoming the victim of a theft, a Vernon woman turned things around by extending kindness to the person wrongfully in possession of her belongings. 

On Nov. 24, the Vernon RCMP was called for a report of a missing purse, initially left behind and last seen at the Village Green Mall food court, Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says in a media release. The owner had returned to the mall, but did not find her purse. Mall staff gave her descriptions of people in the food court at the time.

Police suggested she try using the Find My iPhone app to pinpoint the current whereabouts of the purse and phone.

The owner did as instructed, and with the phone 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 the encounter, the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP was also able to pinpoint the cell phone's whereabouts using the Find my iPhone App, which indicated the phone was now at a residence in Vernon. Police attended the residence, where a 48-year-old woman and a 57-year-old male were 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 the time, however it was turned in to the detachment on 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 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.

On Dec. 22, after having her property returned to her, Pauline Vankoll contacted the Vernon/North Okanagan RCMP Detachment saying 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.

“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,” Vankoll said. “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, RCMP Const. Kevin Hamilton met with Vankoll and picked up the hamper and delivered it to the other couple, as per the wishes of Pauline Vankoll.

The couple was extremely grateful for the kindness and forgiveness shown, Moskaluk says.

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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