'There was blood': Sask. woman wants stolen SUV replaced after it was used in armed robbery
PRINCE ALBERT -- Kim Rask's vehicle was stolen out of her driveway at Emma Lake on Nov. 18, one of three taken that morning.
When her 2018 Toyota Highlander was found two days later, police told her it had been used in an armed robbery.
“It was found in pretty rough shape, there was blood in the vehicle, a firearm in the vehicle. It reeked of alcohol,” said Rask.
Methamphetamine was also found in Rask's SUV.
She does not want the vehicle back.
Rask, who is a pharmacist, said she doesn’t feel it is safe for her or her children to travel in it.
She also takes trips to the U.S. and worries the drug's residue could be detected at the border.
Rask initially asked for the SUV to be brought to a Toyota dealership for assessment and said she learned it was against the dealership's policy to assess stolen vehicles out of concern that staff could be put at risk of drug contamination.
Rask said she had to contact Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and specifically request biohazard testing.
"I'm sure I'm not the only one that this has happened to. I'm sure other people have not asked for the drug testing and maybe didn't even think about it," said Rask.
SGI agreed to cover the cost to have the SUV assessed and sent the vehicle to Regina for testing.
Rask has a package policy that includes full replacement costs.
According to Rask, SGI said the damage on her SUV has to exceed $37,000 before it would warrant replacement costs.
"I feel like I had to advocate for myself, not to take this vehicle back."
The presence of illegal street drugs doesn't warrant a loss, as SGI says vehicles can be remediated.
SGI media relations manager, Tyler McMurchy, said SGI recently implemented a protocol to handle theft cases involving street drugs.
SGI will inspect a stolen vehicle for drug contamination before releasing it to an autobody shop.
"If your vehicle is stolen it will be inspected and if those tests come back that there is opioids, it will be remediated before returning it to the customer,” said McMurchy.
In 2018, SGI recorded 3,812 vehicle thefts in Saskatchewan and this year to date 3,307 vehicles have been stolen.
The government insurance provider warns the public not to leave their keys in the vehicle or provide opportunities for theft.
Rask has less than a week left on the coverage of a rental car she is driving and said she is considering legal action to settle the matter.