British Columbia

She dropped everything to help a car-crash victim — and someone stole her phone

RCMP are asking for the public's help to help find a single mom's phone after it was stolen while she was trying to help someone who'd just been in a car crash.

'The last thing I was thinking about was protecting my phone,' says single mom, who can't afford replacement

Anne Marie Behan, 57, had her phone stolen as she was trying to help a man who'd just been in a car crash outside her Nanaimo, B.C. home on Saturday. (Anne Marie Behan)

RCMP are asking for the public to help find a single mom's phone after it was stolen while she was trying to help a man who'd just just been in a car crash.

Anne Marie Behan was cosied up, wrapping Christmas presents at home in Nanaimo, B.C., around 8 p.m. PT on Saturday when she suddenly heard cars smashing together and people beginning to scream outside her front window.

"I just went out to my front deck to look out and realized there was a car accident on the corner. I could hear kids yelling and screaming and thought, 'I better go out there,'" said Behan, who's been a care aide at the Nanaimo hospital for nearly 10 years.

Behan ran outside in her flip-flops and phone in hand, prepared to call 911.

She realized there was a man in the back seat of one car who wasn't breathing properly and put her phone down on the hood of the car to help him.

"I just held his head up … I didn't know how badly he was hurt," said Behan, 57.

Someone else phoned paramedics and it wasn't until after they had come and gone, taking the man to hospital, that Behan realized her phone was missing.

"They backed out and I went to grab my phone and it was gone," she said. "I couldn't believe it."

Phone in mint green case

Behan said she cried after realizing what had happened.

"For two days," she said. "I'm a single mom and I use that phone to talk to my daughter. It had everything on it."

The phone is a black LG Stylo in a mint green case. There is no data plan attached to the phone. Behan tried to use the FindMyPhone app to track it down, but the device had already been shut off.

A newer model of an LG Stylo smartphone. Behan's phone was in a mint green case. (LG Canada)

Behan said other witnesses told her they saw a man skulking around the scene, looking inside the cars involved in the crash.

"How can anybody do something like that? Come to a car accident where somebody's possibly dying and steal things?" she said.

"The last thing I was thinking about was protecting my phone."

Behan said she'd take her phone back with no questions asked, even offering a reward. In the meantime, she's using a spare phone a friend has loaned to her.

The crash happened near the intersection of Wakesiah Avenue and Third Street, west of downtown Nanaimo. Behan she's been in touch with the man's family and said he's expected to make a full recovery.

RCMP said anyone with information about the phone's whereabouts or who may have taken the device are asked to call investigators at 250-754-2345, or Crime Stoppers if they wish to remain anonymous.

About the Author

Rhianna Schmunk is a staff writer for CBC News. She is based in Vancouver with a focus on justice and the courts. You can reach her on Twitter @rhiannaschmunk or by email at rhianna.schmunk@cbc.ca.