The owner of this vintage Triumph TR6 parked his car in Manning Park on July 27 and found it gone after a three-day hike. It was discovered at the Peers Creek trailhead on July 30 and reported to the Hope RCMP. Gordon Montgomery of Blaine

Car stolen from Manning Park

Vehicle found damaged at the Peers Creek trailhead

It doesn’t happen often — but sometimes a news story unfolds right in front of you and obliges you to help it on its way. Once involved, it’s hard to step back and report it in typical news fashion.

Such was the case on Monday, July 30.

My friend, John Koopman and I were being introduced to the newly reestablished Peers Creek Heritage Trail, east of Othello. Kelly Pearce of the Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning met us at the trailhead, where Koopman and I immediately noticed something unusual: a pristine 1972 Triumph TR6 convertible, parked with its front end facing out, front tires carefully chocked with small boulders.

Pearce told us that the car had been there for three or four days. Since the trail is being developed for a four or five-day hike, it was conceivable that someone would be out in the bush for that long — but who would bring such a beautiful vintage car up a rough logging road and leave it here?

It didn’t feel right.

A quick walk around the car revealed that it was from Washington state. There was no note left, telling of the owner’s plans, so Koopman and I vowed that if the car was still there after our hike, we would report it to the police.

Seven hours later, the car was still there. We were worried for the owner’s safety, so when we found the passenger door and glovebox unlocked, Koopman checked for any paperwork that would give us contact information for the police. There was none. I photographed the licence plate and left a note, saying that we would be reporting to the Hope RCMP.

“My immediate concern was for the whereabouts and safety of the car’s owner,” said Koopman. “Reporting the situation to the police felt like the right thing to do.”

We proceeded to the local detachment, where we talked to Const. Lara Davidsen. She said she would head out to the scene and check it out.

This was Monday evening.

As we learned later, the car’s owner, Gordon Montgomery of Blaine, Wash. had been overnight hiking in Manning Park with his brother. Sunday afternoon, they walked out of the bush at the Cascade Recreation Area parking lot — east of Rhododendron Flats in Manning Park — and saw that the TR6 was missing.

Tuesday evening, Montgomery responded to my note, phoning to express his thanks for our helping getting his car back. The Triumph had been towed into Hope and he came to collect it on Tuesday, though the steering had been damaged so the TR6 had to be towed back to Blaine.

“I had left the car at the Cascade trailhead on Friday afternoon — which I was told was a very safe area to leave it,” said Montgomery. “We had hiked for three days in the park and on our return, Sunday afternoon, the car was gone.”

According to Pearce, the car was at Peers Creek by Saturday morning. That suggests it was likely stolen on Friday and abandoned at its new location… 38 kilometres away.

“A guardian angel, Rusty Ashworth from Coquitlam, picked my brother and me up on the highway and drove us back and forth while filing police reports, picking up my brother’s car at another trailhead and then driving me into Abbotsford so my wife could pick me up and drive me home,” said Montgomery.

“It is very troubling to have had it stolen and treated in such an irresponsible manner. Nevertheless, I have it back and with a little luck, the perpetrators will be apprehended.”

Hope RCMP Cpl. Darren Rennie said police managed to find a fingerprint on the car. The case remains under investigation.

Just Posted

Newly elected Hope politicians took part in the Local Government Leadership Academy

The three-day event is aimed at helping new mayors and councillors navigate municipal politics

No records were beat, but Hope’s February temperatures aren’t average

Normally around 3C, the sub-zero temperatures made for both good and bad in the Fraser Valley

New Chilliwack YMCA was ‘worth the wait’ say visitors

Family Day will mark officially opening for new building, after sneak peek tours on Saturday

Opioid overdoses killing three people a month in Chilliwack

35 deaths in 2018 locally compare to 23 in 2017, 13 in 2016 up from about five per year before that

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Pedestrian in serious condition after hit by car downtown Abbotsford

A youth was also hit, suffered minor injuries, police say

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read