11/17/2014 01:32 EST | Updated 05/15/2015 05:59 EDT

Wallet Stolen On 1979 Camping Trip Returned To B.C. Woman

Andrea Klassen/CP/Kamloops This Week

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - When Martha Shepherd answered the phone, the last thing she expected to hear was that someone found her wallet — 35 years after her purse was stolen.

The caller identified himself as a Vancouver Island police officer, and Shepherd assumed the worst.

“You automatically think it’s bad news,” said the Kamloops, B.C., resident.

The officer was a sergeant from the RCMP detachment in Ucluelet, close to where Shepherd had travelled in 1979.

The Mountie asked Shepherd if she’d lost a purse.

“I said yes and he asked when,” she said.

“I said, ‘I can’t remember, but it was at Long Beach.' “He said they were drying it out and they’d be sending a parcel.”

A highways worker cleaning a ditch found the wallet.

Shepherd was on a camping trip on Long Beach in 1979 when someone broke into her car and stole her purse. Her wallet contained about $100 in cash.

“I asked him, ‘I don’t suppose there was $100 in there?’” she said.

There wasn’t. But the community pitched in and sent Shepherd $100 in a package along with all her old identification.

They included souvenirs such as a blanket from the Ucluelet First Nation, bumper stickers, home-canned salmon, magnets and cards signed by residents.

Shepherd said she hasn’t been back to Ucluelet since her purse was stolen and had no intention of ever returning.

“But now I want to go,” she said. “I’d like to in the summertime.” (Kamloops This Week)


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