Thieves stole 85-year-old Surrey woman Su Zhen Luo’s wheelchair/walker. The disabled woman needed it to get around. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Thieves stole 85-year-old Surrey woman Su Zhen Luo’s wheelchair/walker. The disabled woman needed it to get around. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Elderly Surrey woman’s wheelchair/walker swiped

Su Zhen Luo, 85, suffers from a spinal injury from a fall and depended on her $254.99 stroller to get around

On the scale of human depravity, it ranks low. But for Su Zhen Luo, the theft of her wheelchair/walker combo from her Surrey home last Friday was evil enough.

Luo, 85, suffers from a spinal injury from a fall and depended on her $254.99 stroller to get around before a thief crept in through the garden gate of her daughter’s townhouse and stole it.

Daniel Blanchette, her son-in-law, is nonplussed.

“It took a lot of personal strength, character, and courage to come to our door at night and steal a hybrid stroller/wheelchair of a disabled 85-year-old woman,” he said, with contempt. “It takes courage.”

The stroller had been leaning against the wall beside the front door of the Chatham Lane townhouse where the family lives, in the 13400-block of 92nd Avenue in Whalley. Min Li, Luo’s daughter, said her mother was panicked when she discovered it had been stolen.

“She kept calling me. I thought she fell again.”

“I find it just disgusting,” Li said of the theft. The good news is, Li has since bought her mom a new wheelchair/walker and this one will be kept indoors. But still.

Asked if she contacted police, Li replied she hadn’t because police consider this type of of crime to be “petty,” and “petty crime, I don’t think the RCMP is interested.”

Blanchette echoed that sentiment, reflecting on past experiences when their Bonsais, Buddha statues and Japanese lanterns were also stolen.

“What’s the use?” Blanchette asks. “Years ago we called when the banzai was stolen, the statues were stolen, they come and they make a report. Neighbours did the same thing. Nothing ever gets done.

“Nowadays I don’t even care of calling, because I know they are overburdened.”

READ ALSO: Surrey’s top cop slams city’s budget

READ ALSO: Surrey’s new top cop doesn’t believe residents have lost faith in the RCMP

Blanchette said the neighbourhood has been plagued by theft since he and his wife moved to Surrey from Vancouver in 1997. Bicycles have been stolen from the townhouse complex, he said, as well as a neighbour’s lawnmower.

“A neighbour of ours caught one of the guys on his pickup truck trying to cut a piece of his muffler with a torch in the middle of the night.”

Luo speaks Cantonese. Li translated for her.

Luo told the Now-Leader she emigrated to Canada from Guangzhou, China in 1994. Over the years, she said, she’s felt increasingly less safe in Surrey. “She said she felt safety is not as good as before,” Li said. “She felt people were nicer before.”

“She lost sleep” after her wheelchair/walker was stolen, worrying about how to get around. “Without that, she couldn’t move.”

“She said the most angry thing for her was she put it by the door, so nicely.”

Surrey council has determined to replace the Surrey RCMP with a city-made police force. Asked if he thinks this would change things for the better, Blanchette replied with a question of his own.

“Does Toronto or Calgary have less crime because they have their city police force? I don’t know if it will be a better thing or not. Most likely more expensive, since we lose at least 10 per cent from the federal government.

“Will a municipal police force be better?” he shrugs. “I don’t know. How could less boots on the street be better?”

Blanchette said he’s written letters to city hall about problems in their neighbourhood.

“I wrote letters to Dianne Watts when she was mayor about it, to Linda Hepner about it, to the whole councillors about it. And now we just mailed one to Mayor McCallum about it. I hope a solution will be done to stop this.

“Who wants to live in a Fort Knox situation, with guard dogs?”

Security lighting on the sides of homes to deter theft don’t seem to produce the desired effect, Blanchette noted.

Surrey RCMP Constable Richard Wright told the Now-Leader that the detachment takes “all reports from the public as serious, and we investigate them thoroughly and we encourage everyone to report crimes to us when they occur.”

“I encourage the family to call us.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Construction is expected to start in March of 2021 on 23 new rental homes funded by the provincial government’s Community Housing Fund. (Metro Creative photo)
Province announces rental home project in Chilliwack paid for by Community Housing Fund

Twenty three homes for Indigenous families are planned in partnership with Tzeachten First Nation

Canadian Red Cross staff engaged in a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and social distancing training exercise. (Luc Alary / Canadian Red Cross)
Red Cross canvassers following PHO guidelines while going door-to-door

Canvassers using safety protocols including masks and distancing to continue organization’s efforts

Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl, pictured here in 2017, has harsh words about the federal government’s Fall Economic Statement. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack MP Mark Strahl says Liberal government is leaving millions of Canadians behind

Strahl delivered a blistering critique of the federal government’s Fall Economic Statement

Phyllis Stenson, a mainstay of the local arts scene and the Harrison Festival of the Arts, passed away earlier this month. Stenson was crucial in setting up the foundation for relationships, funding and more that continue even now to echo well past her retirement in 2013. (Contributed Photo/Harrison Festival Society)
Harrison Festival, Fraser Valley arts icon Phyllis Stenson mourned

Stenson passed away in late November, leaving lasting legacy of passion for the arts behind

Elkhart Gas Station, located on Highway 97C about 60 kilometres west of Peachland, opened in November 2020. (Google maps)
The Okanagan Connector now has a gas station

The highway previously ran for over 117 kilometres without a place to fuel up

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Suspect tries to thwart police in Abbotsford with false 911 call about men with guns

Man twice sped away from officers and then tried to throw them off his trail

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Most Read