By the seventh letter, Dave Smith barely gave the yellow envelope a glance.
He set it aside as evidence for police.
By then he had learned to identify the envelopes. They were always covered in cute stickers of hearts and flowers and marked with childish stamps.
“They looked like something you’d send your teenage sweetheart,” says Smith, who received the latest letter two weeks ago.
They began arriving in January 2010, sent by a man who allegedly sexually assaulted Smith when he was 15 years old.
Smith, however, is helpless to stop them.
“I’ve tried everything.”
He first notified police, then his parole officer and the courts.
A convicted sex offender, Richard Elbertson Richardson was charged in the 1980s for allegedly sexual assaulting Smith, but never convicted.
At present, Richardson, 60, is awaiting a sentence for pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a 40-year-old man, who had been renting a room in his Maple Ridge home in 2009.
Smith claims the letters started to arrive after he was charged with arson for burning a trailer that belonged to his deceased parents and was stored on Richardson’s Maple Ridge property in 2008.
The letters include Richardson’s name, an address and phone number.
Smith believes Richardson got his current address through the courts.
Smith is forbidden from contacting Richardson, but remains frustrated that the man continues to send him letters.
“I would just like them to stop,” says Smith, adding the letters bring back memories he rather not relive.
Vancouver police confirmed they are aware of Smith’s complaint, but admit there is little they can do.
VPD spokesperson Lindsey Houghton said there are no court conditions that prohibit Richardson from sending Smith letters. Nor is there evidence to investigate a complaint of harassment.
“We have, however, spoken with Mr. Smith and have followed up with RCMP and asked them to follow up with Mr. Richardson to advise him to seize and desist all contact,” added Houghton.
When contacted, Richardson said he didn’t know anything about the letters.
A woman later claimed Richardson could not have sent them because he can’t read or write.
Ridge Meadows RCMP issued a warning about Richardson in 2010 after he was charged with sexual assaulting his roommate.
At that time, police alleged Richardson had been approaching men while travelling on buses and targeted young men, especially those who have mental health issues.
After being charged with sexual assault, Richardson faced additional charges of breaching bail conditions twice. In one instance, police found he had a roommate, and in a second, he was caught chatting with a teenage boy at the Haney Bus Loop.
Richardson has a criminal record that dates back to the early 1990s.