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

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner’s report confirms cause of death of three men at Sooke River in 2020

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen drown while ‘puddle-jumping’ in pickup truck

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

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 Feb. 23

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

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read