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Vancouver paramedic on front line of COVID-19 crisis has gear stolen

Vancouver paramedic has lifesaving gear stolen from car
WATCH: Vancouver paramedic has lifesaving gear stolen from car.

A Vancouver paramedic can’t go back to work after someone broke into her car and stole her equipment.

Annelie Van der Heyden returned to her East Vancouver home on Sunday night after a marathon shift with BC Emergency Health Services.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: How paramedics are protecting against COVID-19 in Saskatoon

She said she packed all her gear into a bag rather than keeping it in a locker because she wasn’t sure where her next shift would start.

BC ambulance paramedics are seeing an increase in calls due to COVID-19
BC ambulance paramedics are seeing an increase in calls due to COVID-19

“I brought it home but I didn’t want to bring it into my house and contaminate my house,” she said. “I was tired. I figured I’d deal with it in the morning.”

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The next day, she saw that someone had broken into her car and stolen her gear — including two sets of her uniform, a number of masks, and a green stethoscope — from the trunk.

READ MORE: B.C. paramedics say 75% of calls now relate to coronavirus, straining resources

Van der Heyden said the theft brings additional stress to an already challenging time for first responders dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

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She hopes that someone finds the gear and returns it, no questions asked.

“Stranger things have happened. I hope that somebody spots it and decides they’re not going to get any money for it,” she said.

“I understand that times are hard for everybody, but I hope that somebody can find it within themselves to return it.”