British Columbia

Woman in wheelchair robbed of iPad on B.C. SkyTrain

A woman in a wheelchair who was robbed of her iPad by while on a Vancouver area SkyTrain has been given a replacement by a CBC viewer who was moved by her story.

Stolen iPad replaced by CBC viewer who saw story on TV

A happy ending

10 years ago
Duration 2:17
After this story was broadcast, CBC News viewer Dennis Wong bought the victim a new iPad.

A woman in a wheelchair who was robbed of her iPad by while on a Vancouver area SkyTrain has been given a replacement by a CBC viewer who was moved by her story.

Cassie Campbell was robbed last Thursday by two men at the Metrotown station in Burnaby at about 9:30 p.m. PT, just as a westbound train was pulling in.

Campbell, who is in her early 20s and has cerebral palsy, is deaf and cannot speak, and the iPad was one of her only means of communication, police said.

She followed the pair onto the SkyTrain to try to get her stolen device back, but the men pushed her over in her wheelchair, assaulted her and ran off the train with the iPad at the next station, Royal Oak.

One man identified by Transit Police as a robbery suspect is seen entering Broadway Station in Vancouver before the robbery. (TranLink)

"I cried for a long time. It was just shocking. I just I wanted to fight him back and I wondered why would he take it. Why would he do that? Why?" she told CBC News through an interpreter.

There were several witnesses and at least two of them chased the robbers through the station, but there have been no arrests.

On Tuesday police released a surveillance video of two suspects, hoping it will lead to their arrests.

Witnesses chase suspects

In the video two young men can be seen running from the train immediately after the robbery, and are later seen on separate surveillance video on a different level of the station with the Good Samaritans in pursuit.

"[The Good Samaritans] realize they just robbed that girl in the wheelchair," said Transit Police officer Doug Spencer.

"You see these good citizens, this guy in his mid-60s, all start chasing these guys because once they are over the shock of what they saw, they are responding like good citizens would."

This man was also identified by Transit Police as a robbery suspect in the theft of an iPad from Cassie Campbell. (Transit Police)

Campbell sustained a black eye and bruises to her arm, nose and temple, but did not need to stay in hospital following the incident, police said.

The two suspects appear on the video to be in their 20s, but the poor quality of the images obscures many details.

"If they will rob this lady in that situation, with cerebral palsy, in a wheelchair, what won't they do?" said Spencer. "They'll do anything, really."

Campbell, speaking in sign language, told CBC News it was a horrible experience, but said she won't let it change the way she lives her life.

CBC viewer steps forward

After the story was broadcast on CBC News Vancouver on Tuesday, viewer Dennis Wong called the CBC newsroom and offered to buy a new iPad for Campbell.

A few hours later, Wong was in the Apple Store in the Metrotown mall picking up a new iPad for Campbell, when she happened to arrive on her own.

Wong was able to present the new computer to Campbell right outside the store.

Dennis Wong gives a new iPad to Cassie Campbell to replace the one taken from her by two robbers on SkyTrain on May 10. (CBC)

He said in his business as a professional locksmith, he sees "a lot of bad things," and he just wanted to do something positive.

"It feels good, but it doesn't matter how good I feel. It's just how good she feels, you know, that's the important thing."

Campbell smiled and gave Wong's gesture an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

"You just want to help out as many people as you can," he said. "And I'm so glad I've been able to help her out," said Wong.

With files from the CBC's Deborah Goble