UPDATED: Offers of help pour in for tourists who had cash, passports, credit cards stolen
UPDATE, Thurs. Aug 20, 4:45 p.m.
Many offers of help have come in to Global News after we aired this story Wednesday night.
Haligonians have offered food, souvenirs and cash to Lori Schumacker and her two kids.
Schumacker said she did not expect the offers of help but adds she knew Haligonians are kind and generous.
HALIFAX – A Minnesota family is coping as best they can after recently experiencing, what many would describe as, ‘a holiday from Hell’ in Halifax.
Lori Schumacker and her two children, 17-year-old Destiny and 15-year-old Logan, drove two days from their home in Northern Minnesota and arrived in Halifax Sunday night for a week-long vacation.
“[We] saved up money to take a trip where we could just spend time together without everything else that goes on,” she said.
The family, who has been to Halifax once before, spent Tuesday morning at the mall shopping then decided to spend the day at Peggy’s Cove and Cranberry Cove.
It was there that their nightmare began.
“I figured it was safer [to lock my purse] in the vehicle rather than sitting on a beach unattended,” Lori said.
“I had stuck [my] purse underneath the seat. [My daughter’s] purse was already hidden underneath the dog bed. The camera backpack was probably the only thing that was really left in the open.”
Lori said she left the window cracked just slightly and made sure to lock then check that she had locked the doors.
The family spent the several hours in the area then drove back to Bedford, where they are staying.
“It wasn’t until we got back to Bedford that I actually noticed the purse was gone, when we were going to get something to eat,” Lori said. “The entire purse with my wallet, my debit cards, the cash, passports, everything.”
“Nobody noticed anything was gone or missing,” said Logan. The family adds that there was no visible damage to their vehicle.
“It was like, where could the purse be? We all locked the doors. We all even checked that we locked the doors.”
Mom Lori describe the moment as “sheer panic”.
“How am I going to feed two kids?” she said as tears fell down her face. “How are we going to get back? Passports and everything were in there.”
The family filed a report with RCMP, who confirm the incident happened between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Around 8 p.m. last night, we responded to a complaint of theft from motor vehicle from a tourist traveling here in this area,” said Cpl. Greg Church with Halifax RCMP.
Church said police believe the suspect or suspects took advantage of how the family locked up their vehicle.
“We do feel she may have left the window down a crack to allow air to enter the vehicle. Culprits take advantage of any advantage they can take. They will and they did. In this case, they took advantage of the window being down slightly in order to gain access inside the vehicle,” he said.
Church said there have been no leads for suspects and is asking anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity around a gold-coloured 1999 GMC van near Cranberry Cove to contact RCMP.
Lori cancelled her debit and credit cards and said her bank is in the process of sending replacement cards but they may take several days to arrive.
Daughter Destiny said the trip has been stressful and hard for them to cope with.
“It’s extremely hard knowing you don’t have money to get food,” said Destiny. “You’re worried about getting home because you want to go home.”
While Global News was speaking with the family, a detective from Halifax Regional Police arrived saying two kids had found Lori’s purse near Peggy’s Cove.
A quick check of the purse revealed the passports were still there along with Lori’s debit and credit cards. However, she said some cash and deposit slips from her chequebook had been taken.
“Knowing that there’s still money in there is a huge relief because at least I know now I can feed the kids. We can get around while we’re here,” Lori said with a small smile on her face.
“It’s just getting back home [that’s a worry] because there’s not enough cash in there [for gas].”
The family is also still missing Destiny’s purse and their camera bag, but for now, they are counting their blessings.
“One small step [forward], still a couple more to go,” said Lori.