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Burgled tourists’ faith in Bermuda restored

Belongings stolen: John and Darlene Kersey were victims of a theft at Shelly Bay (photograph supplied by Mrs Kersey)

Holiday turned to horror when Canadian tourists had their belongings stolen in their beloved Bermuda, where they have enjoyed visits for nearly 40 years.

However, one local couple was determined to show John and Darlene Kersey the generous spirit of the island, by gifting the strangers $200.

The visitors, both 65, were in the water at Shelly Bay when they looked up to discover their bag was missing from a bench on the beach.

Mrs Kersey explained: “We weren’t far out. We were in the water just minutes and constantly kept an eye on the bag. There was a guy, I guess another tourist, right beside us on another bench, so I thought, even better.

“I turned my back and when I turned around it was gone. I’ve never gotten out of the water so fast.”

The couple ran to the beach and nearby car park, frantically searching for their belongings, which included a wallet with $1,000 Canadian and $1,000 US, the key for their rented bike, credit cards, a camera containing holiday photographs, and some items Mrs Kersey had bought on the island.

Borrowing a phone from a taxi driver, they called police. When a concerned onlooker, a man named Brian in a company work van, learnt what had happened, he revealed he had seen a man running towards a motorbike, looking over his shoulder and carrying a bag that matched the description of the one missing.

Officers attended the incident on June 7, and took details from the pair, who also provided information for written statements at a police station the following day.

Mrs Kersey added: “The police said you should never carry that amount of money. John won’t even put his wallet in a safe when we go to Cuba as he wants it with him, but he has learnt his lesson, big time.”

Their fortunes changed days later when they visited John Smith’s Bay with son Adam, 30, and his wife Aleasha, 26, who were holidaying with them on the trip.

Mrs Kersey told how her family exchanged pleasantries with a “lovely couple” and the stolen bag came up in conversation.

The gentleman who had heard this story returned to Mr Kersey around half an hour later and handed him an envelope, which read: “Enjoy a meal on us, The Burchalls.” It contained $200 and the tourists now believe the man’s first name is Roddy.

Mrs Kersey said: “I went running back up the hill because he was just getting into his car.

“I thanked him big time. He said he didn’t want us to think all Bermudians are like that.”

She and her husband, from Kleinburg, Ontario, have been visiting Bermuda for 37 years, taking trips once or twice annually until ill health struck, and she insisted they will return.

“We will just be extra cautious,” she said. “We will do things differently, that’s for sure.

“We hadn’t been for six years because John had cancer and chemo, this had to happen on our first time back.

“It happens anywhere and everywhere but we just really didn’t think it would happen there, we’ve been there so many times.

“We’ve been to lots of places but nothing compares to Bermuda.”

Telling her story in a bid to warn other tourists, Mrs Kersey added: “I still feel traumatised by it all. It’s weird, maybe, but you still feel violated. It’s just stuff but it’s our stuff.”

A spokesman for the Bermuda Police Service said inquiries into the matter were ongoing.