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Southern Alberta girl’s hockey team unites to return stolen phone to teen

A 13-year-old scrimped and saved to buy her first phone, which turned out to be stolen and was seized by police. When a Southern Alberta hockey team heard about it, they turned the situation around by fundraising for a new one.
SPORTS-Hockey Phone
The Okotoks Oilers U18 A girl's hockey team organized a bottle drive to return a stolen phone to a 13-year-old Calgary girl who had saved up for months. (Photo courtesy Chelsey Hansen Photography)

The generosity of an Okotoks hockey team was able to turn around a young girl’s disappointment.

When thirteen-year-old Taysha Andersen-Fraser handed over $460 she had saved up for months to buy her first cell phone, she had no way of knowing it was stolen and would soon be seized.

And when Calgary Police detective Darcy Williams located that phone and had to seize the stolen phone from Andersen-Fraser, it left him feeling put out.

“This young girl had done nothing wrong, she had done everything right and bought this phone, did all the checks and everything checked out,” said Williams.

He explained that while the phone’s serial number had not been blacklisted at the time Andersen-Fraser bought it, the system finally caught up.

“It was down the line, through the technology of people reporting stuff, it’s a delay,” he said.

The IMEI number that’s assigned to the phone came back as blacklisted and basically made it inoperable.

That phone had been stolen in December from Kyle Baumgardner, who had been contacted by an interested buyer online and agreed to meet them in northeast Calgary. It was there the prospective buyer proceeded to snatch it, after which point Williams had been put on its trail.

“Over the last year or so I’ve been investigating a number of online thefts and robberies involving various electronic devices, usually anything to do with Apple,” Williams said. “Up until that point, I had recovered a number of items from adults, and as much as I felt bad for them, it’s ‘buyer beware’ and if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. But in this one instance, it was a 13-year-old girl who had saved up enough money over the course of six, seven months to buy her first phone.”

That hit home for the detective, as he works with youth, coaching the Okotoks Oilers girl’s U16A hockey team.

“I know how important a phone is to a kid these days, basically it’s their life, that’s their only communication system,” Williams said.

His fellow coaches sensed he was put off by something and inquired.

“I told them about my day and they thought I should tell the girls,” Williams said. “So after the game I did our post-game talk and mentioned what had happened that day. I told them about this young girl … I told them I had to go take the phone and they felt terrible.”

The young players did not disappoint in their response.

“So right away a number of girls threw out some ideas,” Williams said. “The nice thing was we had planned a bottle drive for the following weekend in which we were going to raise some funds for our Provincials, so it was decided that we would do the bottle drive a little bit longer and use some of that money to help by a phone for her.”

Despite the theft, Baumgardner was also touched and wanted to help.

“As luck would have it, after I returned the phone to the rightful owner, he was actually really good, he asked how I found the phone, because he thought it was gone forever,” Williams said. “So I gave him the backstory and he was quite taken aback and said ‘Wow, I feel horribly for this girl, she did nothing wrong.’

“I said ‘Why don’t I give you the phone back right now, and when we’re done our bottle drive, we’ll see how much money we get and then we can reconnect here and see what you want to do.’”

The bottle drive went well, and when Williams reached back, he said Baumgardner opted to only take a fraction of the asking price.

“He said he thought the phone was gone, so this was a bonus that he got to help out.”

The team then decided to add in other items, such as a screen protector and VISA gift card.

Halle Weber is one of Williams’ players that pitched in on the drive and was moved by Andersen-Fraser's story.

“It was really hard to hear because I know for me, I use my phone to talk to my family, my friends, and take a break sometimes from everything going on.

“And obviously she’s going through a lot already and I’m sure it made it more stressful and painful for her to have it taken away after saving up so much for it," Weber. "It’s really nice because we knew that while we’re so lucky to raise the money, and the opportunity to give it back to someone who really needed it, and that we got to do it together as a team was great.”


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