News

Scooter swiped while senior eats fish and chips

Earl Harmata was having a meal at the Sea Shanty when someone stole his mode of transportation. Lucky he has a spare. - Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
Earl Harmata was having a meal at the Sea Shanty when someone stole his mode of transportation. Lucky he has a spare.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

Earl Harmata often gets told he looks younger than his 98 years. Always dapper in a suit and hat, he’s a familiar site around downtown Maple Ridge, often seen zooming down streets on his motorized scooter.

On Monday, around 8 p.m., he had a hankering for fish and chips.

“The sun was going down,” he says. “So I thought I’d zoom, zoom down. It’s close by.”

He got to the Sea Shanty on Dewdney Trunk Road, unaware it was already closed, parked his scooter near the window and sauntered up to a table.

A regular at the Sea Shanty, Cindy Littlewood and her staff didn’t have the heart to turn Harmata away. They turned on the coffee, then fried up a piece of cod and some chips for him.

But when Harmata finished his dinner and walked out to ride his scooter home, it had vanished.

“I tell you these loafers, they steal anything,” says Harmata, his quiet voice rising in anger.

Born in 1912, Harmata likes to tinker. He’s got a collection of scooters he bought off other seniors. He fixes them up, sells them or rents them out.

But the one that was stolen Monday was the best of the bunch.

“It can go three trips to Zellers and back before losing its charge,” says Harmata.

Littlewood called police when she found out someone had stolen the scooter, then she drove around Maple Ridge looking for it. When she got home, she posted a message on her Facebook page, asking people to keep an eye out for the grey scooter with a red seat and mismatched rear tires.

“I was just really upset,” she says.

“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe somebody would do something like that.”

Harmata believes the thief couldn’t have gone far. The scooter would probably have lasted just 10 blocks before it losing its charge.

“The thieves, they take glory in stealing,” he says.

• If you have seen Earl Harmata’s grey scooter with a red seat, call Ridge Meadows RCMP at 604-463-6251.

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