Vancouver police have noticed a great increase in assaults and robberies targeting Vancouver residents, especially those in wheelchairs. They decided to pull a page out of everyone’s favourite cop book as their line of attack: an undercover mission.
Police officer Mark Horsley strapped on a wheelchair and headed to five high risk areas in the Downtown Eastside. He told residents that he had suffered brain damage and had very limited mobility in his arms and head. As if Horsley wasn’t easy enough bait, he carried a fanny pack with him that was unzipped with money hanging out of it. He also carried other valuables such as a phone and camera.
Their plan was to go into Vancouver and pick out the despicable attackers who have been targeting residents in wheelchairs. Police officers were ready to catch them in their pathetic attempts to rob a disabled man, arrest them, and make Vancouver a safer place for all.
What they found was quite the opposite.
Residents (including known criminals) approached Horsley with only sympathy and support. They expressed genuine concern for his wellbeing and did anything they could to help.
“People would ask me if I had someone to care for me, if I had some place to go, if I was hungry, people gave me food…I didn’t panhandle. I didn’t ask for anything.”
Horsley came into contact with multiple criminals that are known to police and would constantly prepare himself for a felony to occur. Instead of attacking him, they made polite chit-chat. Instead of robbing him, they offered food. Two men bought him pizza.
“These are people that we know the profiles of, we know their criminal histories, we know where they’re at, but they wouldn’t stoop as low as to rob somebody that was that vulnerable.” Horsley revealed.
Police were stunned. Horsley even travelled in his wheelchair at late hours in the night, came into contact with 300 people in total, but no arrests were made.
With all the attacks that have been going on, police expected to complete this undercover operation to make them pay. And they did. Residents gave Horsley $24 in spare change.
Again, Horsley did not ask for anything.
“I was really taken by the politeness, the manners, the number of people that were very courteous.” He states.
One man is even seen zipping up Horsley’s fanny pack that was exposing his money.
Stories such as this one reveal the “honor system” among some criminals. Certain criminals may “lie, cheat, and steal” and even be violent toward others, but certain acts are considered below ethical standards.
Reports show that the way two criminals interact with one other within a prison system isn’t necessary dependent on the crimes they committed. However, when a man is found to be sentenced for raping a woman or child, fellow prisoners will often ban together torture and torment the assailant. For them, rape (and perhaps stealing from the disabled) is simply “wrong.”
This is not to say that there aren’t people attacking wheelchair resident Vancouver, or that heinous crimes aren’t committed every day. Criminals of that nature do exist. We do admit, however, is that there is something so comforting in knowing the lengths certain criminals go to protect our city’s most vulnerable. That, in stories such as these, criminals will do what’s “right.”`