A covert operation by police in Vancouver to catch knife-wielding robbers has been foiled by the kindness of locals.
Staff Sgt Mark Horsley posed as a vulnerable user of a wheelchair in the city’s Downtown Eastside, with valuables clearly on display. It was done over the course of 18 months in an attempt to lure those responsible for a series of violent acts in the area.
Instead, the operation lured concerned strangers, who kept him company, offered assistance, and helped Sgt Horsley put his money out of view and into a safe place.
Even late at night, passersby stopped to check on him – and rather than having money stolen, people gave him donations.
The project was created by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and was known as ‘Operation Wheelchair’.
“This community has soul. Victimising the vulnerable is far beneath the people of the Downtown Eastside,” Sgt Horsley explains in a VPD video.
“For the very rare and despicable person who’s willing to victimise vulnerable people, you should know the police are watching. But more importantly, the people of the Downtown Eastside are watching.”