Seniors who spent years fundraising enough money to buy their facility a treadmill are wondering who would be heartless, and brazen enough, to steal it. And so is the Burnaby RCMP.
The treadmill in question is especially valuable, not necessarily in price, but in what it represented to the residents of Gustav Wasa Place seniors’ home on Halifax Street.
“The ladies’ auxiliary had paid for part of it and … we had, had lots of flea markets and a lot of people had donated (money),” said Eila Astells, resident of Gustav Wasa Place.
Astells first found out the treadmill was gone last Thursday, when another resident remarked it wasn’t in its usual spot in the home’s games room.
“I went to have a look and it wasn’t there but it had been when we had that real big rain storm. I had helped clean up because the water came in through the door (of the games room),” Astells said.
During the time between the rainstorm, which took place in the first week of September, and Sept. 19 the cherished treadmill vanished.
Astells called the Burnaby RCMP to report the theft. Const. Karen Whitby responded to the call but much to her dismay, couldn’t find any clues leading to those responsible for the theft of the treadmill.
One week later, the case of the stolen treadmill has no leads, witnesses or evidence. The RCMP has closed the case, leaving the residents of the seniors’ home with little hope it’ll be found.
“We really worked hard to get it and for something like this to happen, it’s devastating. We can’t afford to be doing it again,” said Helen Mojzes, another resident of Gustav Wasa Place.
Almost a decade ago, Astells and Mojzes spearheaded a campaign to get the seniors’ home a treadmill. The home already had a few other pieces of equipment, including three bikes and a rowing machine, but the women were keen to get a treadmill.
Over the course of a few years, thewomen hosted bake sales, garage sales, flea markets, and even collected donations from people in the neighbourhood. Eventually they had enough money for half the cost of a treadmill. Mojzes petitioned the women’s auxiliary at the home to donate the remaining money to buy it.
“Helen and I, we had gotten the treadmill and we had lots of people in (the games room) and we’d show them how to use the treadmill, and everyone was welcome to use it,” she said. “But it belonged here.”
While Astells admitted the treadmill wasn’t used 24/7, it was an important part of life at the seniors’ home. This is especially true during the winter months when residents accustomed to walking outside everyday would take a stroll inside on the treadmill, rather than go for a walk in the pouring rain, she said.
“At this age, it is quite beneficial when it’s raining,” Mojzes said.
As police close the case on the stolen treadmill, the women said they couldn’t believe someone would steal from seniors.
“It’s just strange, really strange,” Astells said.
Anyone with information about the treadmill can contact Const. Karen Whitby at the Burnaby RCMP at 604-294-7922.
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