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Stolen in Canada

December 10, 2001: We're back from Vancouver, B.C., Canada after a long trip back on the bus. Sometime Saturday night or early Sunday morning, the van we took to Canada was stolen. Needless to say we're angry and much surprised for a number of reasons.

First, the van was parked in what appears to be an upperclass neighborhood near Stanley Park. Even more surprising is the fact that the van is a 1982 diesel VW. That vehicle isn't even on the radar screen for vehicles typically stolen and it only has a U.S. book price around $1000!

It was worth a lot more to us, of course, because it had been well maintained, got 28 miles per gallon, and had many amenities for travelling. Gone with the van is an inverter and crock pot, our RV toilet and holding tank with macerator pump, a very comfortable mattress on a large bunk, blankets and afgans, some received as gifts, our tent, tool box, tire chains, multimeter, sunglasses, hiking boots, gloves, clothes. Gone also is the many packages of green tea we had just purchased for family and friends in the U.S.

An Inkling

We took our bags into the coffee shop this morning on the way to the bus depot. When we explained to the waiter that our van had been stolen we were told that U.S. cars have been a popular target of car thieves in Vancouver and other cities in Canada.

More Suspicion

We only had to show driver's licenses to get into Canada, but the U.S. customs agent asked us for a birth certificate or passport. He let us pass after learning that we'd driven into Canada and were on the bus because our van had been stolen. And, he informed us that he'd heard that you'd better be prepared to wire your doors and windows shut if you wanted to avoid car theft in Canada.

``It's getting as bad as Mexico'', he added. We informed him that we spent a year in Mexico with another VW van and it was neither broken into or stolen.

High Auto Theft Rates Confirmed

Using google.com we searched for the phrase `stolen in Canada' and got back 10 pages of results. Here are a few thing we learned.

Do you still want to go to Canada?

It shouldn't come as a surprise that we won't be going back to Canada any time soon. If you're thinking about travelling there you might want to contact the Tourism Office and inquire about the latest car theft statistics.

Van Specifics

Volkswagen imported diesel vans into the U.S. in 1982 and 1983. The 1982 version is a four speed with a whopping 47 HP. Our van had the original paint which is a yellow bottom with a cream top. License plate is PWRTAP. The curtains are black except for the one in the rear window which is black with red chili peppers.

From the glass residue where the van was parked, the driver's side has broken glass, probably the wind wing. The radiator has been recently replaced. Behind the drivers door is a dent, but the rest of the van is clean with no rust.

Rear seats are removed and replaced by a welded bunk frame that connects to the body where the seats formerly attached. The plywood bunk is covered with a blue canvas.

As we'd mentioned, the van is equipped with a toilet/holding tank that is fitted with a Parr macerator pump. The discharge hose is a 3/4 inch garden hose that exits under the vehicle behind the driver's seat and runs back to the front of the rear tire.