Ron Phippen in the T-shirt his fiancée Lori Roberts met him in. Phippen died suddenly of melanoma on Jan. 18, 2020 but then a month later a bag of his T-shirts destined for a memorial blanket was stolen in Chilliwack. (Facebook)

Ron Phippen in the T-shirt his fiancée Lori Roberts met him in. Phippen died suddenly of melanoma on Jan. 18, 2020 but then a month later a bag of his T-shirts destined for a memorial blanket was stolen in Chilliwack. (Facebook)

B.C. widow ‘crushed’ over stolen T-shirts meant for memorial blanket

Lori Roberts lost her fiancé one month ago Tuesday now she’s lost almost all she had left of him

Lori Roberts is heartbroken over a stolen bag of old T-shirts.

Of all the otherwise worthless items stolen that have a sentimental value, these are precious to her and she just can’t fathom why someone would do such a thing.

She just wants them back.

Roberts’s fiancé Ron Phippen died suddenly one month ago only a few days after he was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma.

Crushed as she was, Roberts donated dozens of bags of Phippen’s clothing and shoes and boots to charity, but she kept one all-important bag. His collection of hiking T-shirts that a friend was going to make into a memorial blanket for him.

“This is one of the few things I have left of him,” Roberts said in a Facebook post pleading for help.

“My heart is crushed.”

• RELATED: Flower thefts at Surrey roadside memorial astound mourning family

• RELATED: Chilliwack woman has $30,000 worth of jewelry stolen from garage

The friend who was going to make the blanket was in training doing runs up Mt. Thom on Sunday. She had the bag in the trunk of her car that was parked at the bottom of the Jinkerson stairs on Promontory.

Then friend got a call from police asking if she was OK.

“She asked ‘Why?’” Roberts told The Progress, adding that police responded: “Because your windows are smashed.”

There was nothing of value in the vehicle. The T-shirts were in a clear blue garbage bag in the trunk, and they were gone.

She posted about the incident on Facebook with a photo of Ron at the Mt. Slesse memorial where they met and where he was wearing one of the missing T-shirts. It’s an orange North Face shirt, with the words “Hills & Trails & Rocks & Dirt.”

“That’s the one that I met him in,” she said, pausing for emotions during a phone call. “That’s the one that means the most.”

Since the theft, friends and family have helped her scour the community to look for them, assuming no one would actually want a bag of old T-shirts. They spent Family Day on Monday going to homeless shelters to see if they had been dropped off. They looked in ditches everywhere along the way, up Chilliwack Lake Road, over to a homeless camp on Island 22, but nothing.

Roberts and Phippen had been together for four years, she said. The two both had what seemed like the common cold over Christmas but whatever Phippen was suffering from persisted. It took multiple visits with medical professionals until on Jan. 13 where a spot was found. The spot was a mole on his skin and a biopsy determined it was metastatic melanoma, a form of stage 4 cancer.

“They said he had less than seven days to live,” Roberts said in tears. “He didn’t even spend one night in his new house that we bought together.”

He died on Jan. 18, 2020.

In memorial, she created the man cave Phippen’s wanted in the house they bought together, moving as they did only recently from Cloverdale. And she wants that T-shirt blanket for that man cave.

Roberts said she’s not mad at the person who stole the T-shirts, even though, maybe she should be. She just wants whoever did it to get a conscience and return the bag.

“How would you like it if your stuff was stolen from someone you loved,” she said.

“This really means a lot to me.”

The T-shirts are mostly old ones with pictures of owls, trees, whales and bears. The theft occurred on Promontory between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Feb. 16. If anyone knows where it is she would like that person to try and get in touch through Facebook, the Progress, or call the RCMP non-emergency line.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Cancertheft

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

Just Posted

Tina Starkey with her seven-month-old puppy Sugar on the E&N Trail in Esquimalt. Starkey now carries a small personal alarm device, her thumb on the button. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Encounters leave Vic West women concerned for her safety

The 50-year-old wants self defence training, says she’s not alone

FUN IN THE SUN
Soloman and seven-year-old Zev Nagler dig up a crab in the tidal flats in Witty's Lagoon Regional Park as part of Metchosin Biodiversity Day on Saturday. (James MacKenzie/Black Press)
Witty’s Beach stair access closed again

Repairs will be complete by summer, mayor says

The Better Business Bureau is reminding people to do their research before starting any home improvement projects this spring. (Black Press Media file photo)
Don’t get scammed on home improvements, warns Better Business Bureau

Scams typically involve paying cash upfront for jobs that never get done, says BBB

A member of the Belmont Secondary School in Langford has tested positive for COVID-19, the Sooke School District announced Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Positive COVID-19 case identified at Belmont Secondary School in Langford

Other school members could’ve been exposed on April 20

Starting in June, Government Street will be closed to most vehicles between Humboldt and View streets. A section of Government Street was transformed into a pedestrian-priority walkway in the wake of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria plans 10-hour closures of Government Street come June

City’s business relief plan extended, Government St. from Humboldt to View closed noon to 10 p.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read