A basketball player who was key to the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA championship revealed in a podcast this week that he and his associates had two bags stolen from the backseat of a vehicle while in the Downtown Eastside.
Danny Green, 32, said he was inside an Airbnb rental for 10 minutes when two “book bags” containing registry money for youth basketball camps and electronics, including laptop computers, were stolen.
Green didn’t say which day the theft happened. He was in Dunbar June 28 to sign autographs at the opening of a new London Drugs. He then hosted a two-day basketball camp at the Richmond Oval.
“We didn’t know there was a ghetto or a ’hood in Vancouver,” Green told the host of the podcast, Inside the Green Room with Danny Green, which aired July 9.
Green said he was staying in a hotel but suggested his associates planned to stay at the rental, which was two blocks from East Hastings.
He said he was not familiar with the neighbourhood, but noted the rental “looked great” in the pictures posted on the Airbnb site.
“I stay in a hotel, but a lot of guys stay in Airbnb,” he said. “They go to check in and we go to eat and they’re like, ‘Yo, we’ve got to change it. It’s old. It looks raggedy. It feels haunted.’ We’re like, ‘OK we’ve got to check this Airbnb out.’”
Green said he didn’t know if the doors to the vehicle were locked when the bags were stolen. He mentioned he was in a police car with officers who drove him around to search for the bags.
“It’s the worst street in North America, in terms of druggies,” said Green of East Hastings Street. He added that he was “heated” after he discovered the bags were taken and wanted to search everyone on the street.
Sgt. Jason Robillard, a Vancouver Police Department media relations officer, said in an email that an investigator was assigned to look into the incident.
“It’s unfortunate Mr. Green had a negative experience in Vancouver,” Robillard said. “Overall, our city is a safe place to live and visit.”
But Robillard pointed out police continue to see an increase in break-ins to vehicles, particularly downtown. He said police encourage people to remove all visible items from vehicles when parking anywhere in the city.
“Even if it is a small item and does not seem valuable to you, it might be enough to tempt a thief,” Robillard said.
The number of break-ins to vehicles in Vancouver almost doubled in the last eight years, jumping from 7,266 incidents in 2011 to 14,598 last year, as reported in the Courier in February.
Meanwhile, Green has since left the Raptors and signed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly worth $30 million.