Potila said she offered to let Triplett spend the night in her rental van, which would be parked outside of her house.
“We were getting our first big snow yesterday,” she said. “I told him, ‘I can’t let you stay in my house, but you are welcome to stay in my van.’”
“You know, right before this happened I was uploading a photo of [Triplett and Boucher] for the homeless story,” Potila said. “It was supposed to be a ‘feel-good, people are not so bad’ story, [and] then he steals my van.”
In the end, Potila said she has learned a valuable lesson about trust.
“It’s my fault,” she said. “I am normally not a cynical person. I’m an optimistic person. I am a cynic today.”
Going forward she said she will still help people, but she may think twice in some cases.
“How could I not?” she said, adding there is a bit of humor in the situation.
“I had this new jar of habanero pepper salsa in the van and was really excited to have chips and salsa when I got home [but] had left it in the van,” she said. “So it’s really adding insult to injury [because] he absconded with the van and my salsa. That is just wrong.”
I spend a lot of time with homeless people, preparing and serving food at a soup kitchen. Most of them are nice people, but they're drug addicts, and drug addicts will steal anything that's not nailed down. In the case of the soup kitchen, we're forced to replace hundreds of cups, forks and spoons every week - the spoons are understandable, because they're useful for cooking dope, but the mugs and forks? These people are homeless, and have no cupboards to store items like that. We can't even hire them to help around the kitchen or warehouse, because we've discovered that when we try, they usually don't show up and when they do, they're stoned, and steal everything in sight.
That's an argument against providing decent, individual accommodations for these hopeless people: they'd have the plumbing ripped out and stolen with a week, but it's even more of a caution against letting one of them sleep in your van overnight, with a key in the ignition.
The reporter says she's not ordinarily a cynical person and I agree with her that that's a far better way to get through life than suspecting the worse of people, but when it comes to drug addicts, don't be stupid. She learned that lesson; most reporters aren't so quick on the uptake.