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)

Chilliwack 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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Margaret Reid, program coordinator with United Way, with the last order of jackets, track pants, underwear and footwear heading to service providers to distribute to those experiencing homelessness. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Chilliwack Progress)
Clothing and footwear piled high to outfit Chilliwack’s chronically homeless

‘This is something to help the long-term health outcomes of our community,’ says program co-ordinator

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

RCMP
Vehicle in alleged hit and run ploughs into road sign in downtown Chilliwack

Police are looking for footage of a gold-coloured two-door Chevy car

The map shows the number of COVID-19 cases for the week of April 25 to May 1. The darkest areas indicate communities with a daily average of more than 20 cases per 100,000 population. (BC Centre of Disease Control)
Surrey and Abbotsford battle for top COVID hotspot in Fraser Health

Two communities are among areas across province showing highest transmission

One section of a bank of community mailboxes in Ryder Lake was stolen. (Facebook photo)
Brazen thief goes next level with mail theft in Ryder Lake

Chilliwack RCMP confirm a section of a community mailbox was taken off its base and removed

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read