Jennifer Wright was sleeping after a medical procedure at the cystic fibrosis clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver earlier this month when someone stole her belongings.
It’s stressful enough to be in the hospital but to have your bag stolen while you are ill is really low, said Wright, who has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. CF patients sometimes spend long periods of time in the hospital.
Wright, 41, a former classical ballet dancer, said she was sleeping after a procedure sometime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Nov. 7 when her bag with her wallet and some food she had brought to eat was stolen.
When she realized her wallet had been stolen she called the bank and was informed that one of her credit cards had been used in the hospital gift shop.
With the help of a friend who volunteers at the hospital she was able to watch the surveillance video from the gift shop.
She then posted stills of the suspect on Facebook.
The young woman was seen on the security camera allegedly using Wright’s stolen credit card.
“On the tape, the (alleged) thief takes my credit card out of her bra, so she had most likely ditched my wallet already,” she said.
Sgt. Steve Addison, a spokesman for the Vancouver police, confirmed a theft was reported to VPD on Nov. 7 from a patient at St. Paul’s.
The incident is under investigation and no arrests have been made, he said Thursday. Addison also said police were aware of the surveillance camera photos that Wright posted on Facebook of the suspect.
Wright alleges the female suspect was with her boyfriend, an outpatient, and they were stealing from patients in the cystic fibrosis clinic, an area meant only for doctors and CF patients, some of whom are recovering from serious chest infections, which may include pneumonia.
Wright says at one point they were caught trying to come back into the CF clinic, but they ran down the stairs. She said a security guard caught up with them and asked the woman to dump out her bag to search for Wright’s wallet.
However because they didn’t see the wallet they had to let them go, she said.
Security told Wright there were multiple expensive sunglasses and headphones in the bag, which they deemed suspicious, she said.
Wright was living in Australia from 2011 to 2017, and said physical fitness from the ballet helped her stay healthy living with cystic fibrosis. However, she says because of her CF the government turned down her application for a visa and told her to leave the country. The stress of leaving her job and starting over in Vancouver has caused her CF to “go downhill,” she said.
She called anyone who steals from hospital patients “a sad excuse for a human being” and hopes the Vancouver police find the person responsible.
Providence Health Care, which operates St. Paul’s Hospital, has been contacted and is looking into what happened.
Anyone with information about the person in the surveillance photo can call the VPD or CrimeStoppers.
Thefts at St. Paul’s Hospital have been a problem in the past. Last year, an Albertan woman told Postmedia she had her car broken into three times while she was visiting her dying brother.