A Yellowknife couple who evacuated to Alberta say their camper, containing valuable belongings, was stolen in the early hours of Saturday morning.
One of the camper’s owners, who asked to remain anonymous, said the couple had been staying at a hotel in St Albert for most of the evacuation.
For the past two nights, she said, she and her partner were able to stay at her in-laws’ house in Morinville, Alberta. They planned to head back to Yellowknife this weekend.
The Yellowknife resident said the camper, parked outside the house, was fine until about 4am on Saturday.
“I heard a big diesel truck in the very early hours of the morning,” she said. “I didn’t think anything of it because we’re not familiar with the neighbourhood.”
When she got up and looked outside, the camper was gone.
The couple called two tow truck drivers in Morinville, who said they had not moved the camper, and the resident said Morinville RCMP considered the camper to be stolen.
A media relations officer for Alberta RCMP confirmed a report had been made on Saturday morning regarding a stolen camper.
“It’s very shocking and devastating,” the Yellowknife resident said.
Although the couple hadn’t been staying in their camper during the evacuation, she said they brought it with them so they had the option to camp if necessary.
The camper was full of personal belongings they had taken with them when they fled Yellowknife, including a wedding dress, photos, a computer, jewellery, insurance papers and insurance receipts. It also contained items acquired during their stay in Alberta.
“We had no idea it was so unsafe,” she said, adding that RCMP told her the theft of campers and similar vehicles in Morinville was common. (Asked about this, an Alberta RCMP spokesperson said that kind of information is gathered through police analysts, who were not on call.)
With a polar bear licence plate, the resident said they may have appeared an easy target. She advised others to be cautious.
She said the incident added another layer of stress to an already stressful situation. The couple nonetheless expect to head back to Yellowknife this weekend.