Thursday, July 23, 2015

A drug-infested community with soul

Vancouver police sergeant Mark Horsley was fed up with cowardly crooks who robbed disabled residents in Vancouver's drug-infested downtown East Side (DTES). With the help of rehab specialists, he launched sting operation. He borrowed an electric wheelchair, grew a messy beard and wheeled himself into the DTES pretending he was brain injured and disabled from a motorcycle accident. He'd be an easy mark, baiting criminals by flashing cash and valuables. He was hoping to be assaulted and make an arrest.

During five days undercover, with loose cash in a unzipped fanny pack, he was "contacted" by 300 passers-by, but nobody robbed him. Even though he was not panhandling, people dropped coins in his lap. Two strangers bought him pizza. Another stranger asked permission to pray for him to heal. When one man leaned over him and reached for his fanny pack, Horsley prepared to grab the perp, but the stranger just zipped his pack shut and asked him to be more careful with his things.

After the operation ended, Horsley explained what it taught him. "The people of the downtown are watching," he said. "They care and they take care of their vulnerable people. This community has soul."

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