U.S. couple’s belongings stolen moments after B.C. trip began

The North Vancouver RCMP is asking for the public’s help after a U.S. couple’s belongings were stolen from the Airbnb they were staying at just minutes after they arrived.

It happened shortly after the couple arrived at their Lonsdale accommodation, before midnight on July 2.

Visiting from Indiana, Madhuchhda Mandal and her fiancé left the rental home’s backdoor open as they unloaded the rest of their luggage.

“And then we when went [back], it instantly dawned on me that we’d been robbed,” Mandal told CityNews.

She says her wallet, the pair’s passports, a laptop, car key, and a camera were all gone.

“I immediately went into a frantic mode … I was like, ‘no, no, no, this can’t be happening, this is just a nightmare.’ We travel so much and I know how important those documents are,” she said.

While the couple’s belongings are gone, the incident was captured on surveillance footage, which the Airbnb host shared with them after learning about what happened.

In the video, a person is seen exiting the home hastily while carrying multiple bags. The suspect then begins to run, still holding the items that were taken.

Mandal has shared the video online and with CityNews.

Couple critical of police response

The couple also expressed disappointment with what Mandal described as a lack of “urgency” on the part of the RCMP.

She says while they called police to report what happened, she claims it took officers more than an hour and a half to show up.

Mandal says she felt that the crime wasn’t treated as a priority.

“[It] made me so disappointed,” she said. “I feel the response would have been way more prompt if this was in the U.S.”

However, the North Vancouver RCMP stated that the department followed protocol throughout the process.

“We triage calls based on priority, depending on the severity of it. In this particular instance, the suspect had already left, they were not there, and the theft had already occurred. I think [the response time] was reasonable given it was a non-active threat and nobody’s safety was at risk,” Const. Mansoor Sahak told CityNews.

“It is very unfortunate that this happened. I don’t think anybody on vacation would want to have their personal items, especially passports and credit cards, stolen. It can completely throw a wrench into your plans when you’re trying to get away for a nice vacation. I certainly empathize with the victim. I hope it’s not something they’ve left with feeling is the only experience they’ve had with North Vancouver.”

Despite experiencing every traveller’s worst nightmare, Mandal expressed her desire to return.

“It’s a beautiful place, and there are a few things I really want to see. I would just definitely be more watchful and cautious next time,” she said.

“Our mistake was trusting [Lonsdale] to be a safe neighbourhood because it appeared to be one.”

The North Vancouver RCMP is now hoping someone will recognize the thief.

“If anybody recognizes the suspect in the video, they are asked to call the RCMP to further our investigation,” said Sahak.

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