'They woke us up and threw paint on us!': homeless couple
Pair target of harassment twice in last 2 weeks
With white paint still visible in her hair and on her neck four days after being doused in an alley inKelowna, B.C., Carolyn Brown and her husband Steven Koepke say this is the third time they have been harassed by young men in the past couple of weeks.
Three males snuck up on the homeless couple as they slept in the corner of an alley behind a strip mall, wherethe unemployed fruitpickers said they often spend their nights.
"It's bad enough we have to sleep outside in the cold. For someone to do this to us, it's just wrong," Koepke told CBC News Friday.
"I had to walk around all night with no shoes, no coat, no blankets, no nothing, with a T-shirt and socks!"
Tuesday's attack was caught on a surveillance video camera at the back of a cellphone store, where the trio parked a black SUV pickup.
"When they came up with the paint, they kicked the mattress we were sleeping on. They said, 'Wake up!' and … they threw the paint on us," Koepke said.
"I couldn't really see. I had paint all over me," Brown said.
Koepke said it's not the first time he and his wife have been a target of senseless harassment. He said they were doused with fire extinguishers twice in the past two weeks.
"First time it happened, they used a fire extinguisher, which I gave to the RCMP," Koepke said.
"The second time it happened, (it) was a fire extinguisher from [a gas station]. The third time was with the paint. I'm sure it's the same people who have been doing it, and they have been doing it to a few other people."
CBC News has learned that there has been a string of attacks against homeless people in Kelowna over the past seven months.
In some instances, young men have put a fire extinguisher hose in the mouth of a sleeping homeless person or simply sprayed them at close range.
"The first time, I reported it to police because I had chemicals all over me, and I wasn't sure if it would eat my skin," Koepke said.
Police told him there was little they could do, so he said he didn't bother reporting the latest attack.
"Police don't do nothing. They figure, you're homeless, you're a drug addict, you're a bum," he said.
Kelowna RCMP said they have no idea who is responsible for the attacks.