A Red Deer woman who runs a delivery company is without her car after her vehicle was stolen twice in two days.
As of next week Lynne McConnell will be in a rental vehicle, but she says she won’t be able to use it for work, because it would be intended for personal use only.
It was Nov. 4 around 4:30 p.m. when McConnell was dropping off a delivery at a friend’s house and stood there a minute to chat. Not long after, she spotted three men in the same area.
“I noticed they kind of looked grubby. Then one guy came back and got in my car and just took it,” said the single mother, adding the keys were in the ignition as she was standing less than 20 feet away from her vehicle.
“I was in shock. I didn’t know what just happened, and at the same time, I knew what had happened,” said the woman of the incident on Horn Street.
“It was so asinine that someone would get in my car and leave with it. I didn’t think that happens, but apparently it does.”
A day later, the business owner got word from police that her vehicle was recovered in Olds, and she had to pay about $700 to get it towed back to the city.
The woman decided to tow it back to a Red Deer dealership, where it could be rekeyed.
“Police didn’t find the keys on him when they arrested the suspects in Olds. So someone still had my keys.”
Then, the vehicle was stolen the second time from the dealership.
Early in the morning of Nov. 6, RCMP responded to a collision on Lakewood Drive in Innisfail. A car and an SUV travelling in opposite directions collided. The drivers were taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries.
RCMP determined the SUV had been stolen from Red Deer.
That stolen vehicle was McConnell’s Mitsubishi RVR.
“I went to go look at my car in Innisfail and it was in pieces,” she said. “The whole front left side was gone.”
The vehicle was a write off, and since the incident, she has been driving a loaner car.
But as of next week, that changes to a rental car, which helps McConnell get around, but leaves her without a vehicle for her delivery business.
She feels anger and frustration over the two incidents.
“He stole a car, but he ruined my life because he wanted a car. He took meals from my children because I had to pay for that tow truck (from Olds).
“He took my sense of self, like I can’t even walk past a stranger anymore without having a mild panic attack. People walk by my loaner car and I’m worried they’re going to take it.
“I’m sure it’ll get better, but right now, I can’t even explain it.”
The woman praises RCMP’s efforts and for charging the culprits, but blames the criminal justice system and the catch-and-release games the police have to play.
“The RCMP officer who got the suspects the first time – that man deserved a medal. He was off duty and he called an on-duty officer to come help him, because he saw something suspicious.
“He didn’t have to do that. He wasn’t working at the time.”
McConnell’s mother, Marg MacDonald, has created an online fundraiser to help her daughter, with a goal of $5,000.
McConnell said the money would help her buy a used car to help her with her business and give her time to save for a better vehicle.
“I can take on a rental from insurance, but I can’t afford a car outright.”