Tara Ludvigson thought somebody was playing a practical joke on her last week when an RCMP officer walked into her workplace and tried to give her an $81 ticket because she had parked with her windows open.
"I looked around and wondered where the 'Candid Cameras' were," the Woodlands Secondary School office worker said.
It was a hot day and Ludvigson parked where she normally does, so she left her windows open. The Nanaimo Mountie later came into the school asking who drove the blue car next to the school liaison officer's parking space.
Ludvigson, who has parked at the same place for approximately seven years, told the officer it was her car and he wrote her a ticket for leaving her vehicle "unsecured."
"I said, 'What?' and he told me I was in violation of Section 191, subsection 2 of the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act," she said. "That's when I really became upset."
Ludvigson says she asked the officer why it was illegal to park with her windows open. She said she'd never heard of anything like that before.
"He told me ignorance of the law is not an excuse."
The officer then pointed out that her doors were unlocked.
"I said, 'if I'm leaving my windows open, why would I lock the doors?' I've been parking in the same spot for years and when the weather is hot, I leave my windows open. I have never heard of anything so ridiculous."
Neither had friends and colleagues, who told her they frequently park in familiar places with their windows open.
"About 99% of the people that I have talked to about this don't know about it," Ludvigson said, adding she wanted "to educate some readers who may not know that it is a crime to leave your vehicle parked with the windows left open."
"I think this is a sad time when police officers in Nanaimo have no real criminals to find but have time to ticket hard-working people who park their vehicle to go into work, leaving the windows open on a hot day," she said.
Ludvigson previously owned a convertible and can remember leaving her rag top parked in public places with the roof down with no repercussions.
"To me, that's a lot less secure than leaving your windows down."
The officer eventually changed the ticket to a warning and Ludvigson will not be fined.