• Dozens of Facebook commenters live-narrate frantic chase after car
• Victim declares, “My childhood dream has been found!”
• 9 new coronavirus cases reported in Västerbotten
• Folkuniversitet choir serenades isolated nursing home residents
• Curiosum answers Umeå kids’ questions about coronavirus
BERGHEM – A Berghem man, Thomas Kollin, wrote late this afternoon that his “childhood dream had been found” after a bizarre sequence of events that started when his car was stolen early this morning. A thief took his beloved Jeep, police said, and drove it around Umeå for some hours. Kollin, hopeful to get his car back, appealed to friends on social media to look for it. The car made a distinctive rumbling noise, and Kollin later in the morning heard it go by his apartment — but could not see the thief’s face, he told Umeå Today. He went to chase after it. Then, his social media appeal worked. Someone spotted the car, abandoned in the woods near Gammlia, and Kollin now has it back.
At 6:40 this morning, Kollin and his partner, Sofia Sjögren, reported the stolen car to police. Sjögren said that the 1994 Jeep had great sentimental value to Kollin, as it was a childhood dream of his to own a Jeep, and he had restored the vehicle himself, the Västerbottens-Kuriren reported. The pair was startled to find the car had been stolen from its parking place. The vehicle had been locked, they said, and the keys were in their home.
In reaction to the theft, Sjögren said, “It certainly feels sour.”
Later in the morning, the car was spotted again by the pair after identifying its unique engine roar. “An hour ago, we heard our car passing by,” Sjögren told reporters at midday. “We then went onto the balcony and saw it.”
Over the course of the day, Kollin also made a public appeal on his personal Facebook page for friends to be on the lookout for the black Cherokee, and to notify the police if they see anything suspicious. Dozens of people replied, in what amounted to a live-action narration of the car search. “I’m going down to the city center right now,” wrote one friend. “I’m keeping my eyes wide open!”
After the balcony spotting, when Kollin wrote he was going “car-hunting,” a friend responded, “Take care of yourself. You don’t know what they might be carrying,” and another wrote, “Don’t do anything stupid… if there are witnesses!”
At about 4 PM, Kollin posted that the car was found, because of the social media hunt, abandoned in the forest at Gammlia Skog, behind the Sápmi buildings, near Berghem. “With the help of a tip, it is now under the constant supervision of me and good friends,” he wrote.
Kollin told Umeå Today that he does not know who was responsible and did not get a good look at the thief because he only saw hands on the steering wheel. He also revealed that no one had been arrested.
“Thanks to everyone involved, you are awesome!” he wrote.
Meanwhile, regional health officials today announced that 282 cases of coronavirus are now confirmed in Västerbotten, an increase of nine from yesterday’s total. 19 in the county are reportedly in hospital, and 12 receiving intensive care, one less than yesterday.
The Folkuniversitet’s Sångkraft choir took the initiative today to provide support and entertainment during the coronavirus crisis to elderly and vulnerable people in care homes, by gathering outside and singing to them. The chorus serenaded five care facilities at Umedalen and the city center this afternoon.
A member of Sångkraft told Umeå Today, “Since we are not in rehearsals anymore, we thought we could sing some songs to lighten up the day for them.”
“Those who can participate, old and new members, thought it would be a good and fun thing to do,” he said.
Umeå Today also spoke to Josefin Österholm, a soprano who helped organize the event, for more detail about the choir’s plans. “The choir was inspired by the Malmö University Academic Choir who did a similar thing – cycling and singing for the elderly – a couple of weeks ago,” she explained.
“Since most choirs have taken a break right now with regular rehearsals and concerts, the choir members are looking forward to singing together again, at the safe, recommended distance, of course,” she clarified.
“It will be a win-win situation, in which we get to sing together, and at the same time bring some joy to the elderly who can’t go to concerts these days.”
Nursing home residents are more isolated due to the coronavirus crisis as visits to care homes have been banned since the beginning of April.
Efforts are also underway to help Umeå’s youth deal with the pandemic, as Curiosum, the university-run science center, has released a new video to help children understand and cope with the crisis. In the video, posted on Curiosum’s Facebook and YouTube pages, Niklas Arnberg, a professor of virology at Umeå University answers questions from local children, in Swedish, to help them understand the crisis.
The range of questions include “What is a virus?”, “Where does coronavirus come from?” and “Can children get coronavirus?”
“A virus is made up of different types of molecules,” Arnberg explains in the video. “They are very, very small so you can’t see them. It’s these very small things that make us sick.”
“Coronavirus is a virus which attacks our airways and comes into our cells in the throat and down into the lungs,” he continues in the video. “When the virus gets there, it starts to multiply, so there are lots of them, and finally it breaks our cells which means we get sick. Then you start coughing and then you spread the virus to other people.”
“Coronavirus is everywhere,” he explains. “It’s actually a virus that has probably existed in bats across the world, but in a city in China called Wuhan, the virus spread from bats to humans.”
He also clarifies in the video, “Yes, children can get coronavirus but luckily, they don’t seem to get as sick as adults.”