Victor Smith stands beside an eagle carving recovered just under a year after it was stolen from outside the Owl Street Cafe in Hope. Victor said Communities in Bloom, who are the caretakers of chainsaw carvings throughout Hope, is ‘ecstatic’ about having this carving back and thank the RCMP for their work on the file. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Chainsaw carving stolen from outside Owl Street Cafe comes home to roost

Carving of two eagles recovered from Surrey after former Hope resident spots it for sale online

The RCMP had little hope of recovering a chainsaw carving stolen from outside the Owl Street Cafe in Silver Creek last June, until they got a tip about a familiar-looking carving being sold online.

Thieves made off with the red cedar carving of two eagles in a brazen heist which Victor Smith said involved hydraulics to get it off the ground and remove the bolts which held it down. Police asked for the public’s assistance in June 2017, without any substantial leads the file was closed. Then a former Hope resident who was in town when the carving was stolen, informed the RCMP on May 28 of a Facebook post and a Craigslist ad featuring a very familiar piece of art. The seller wanted $4,500 for it.

Using the two online ads, the Hope RCMP quickly traced them back to the buyer and recovered the carving. It was brought back to Hope by Hope Towing and Jordie’s Auto Rescue out of Cloverdale.

“We did our investigation and we figured out the address where it was at,” said Cpl. Anthony Harnett. They recovered the carving and brought it home to Hope.

Without sufficient evidence from the theft, however, the RCMP wasn’t able to prove who stole it. “At the time, that call, there was no surveillance, no witnesses, nobody to say vehicles, suspect description.”

The carving, featuring two eagles involved in an encounter with their heads centimeters apart and one eagle’s wings towering up towards the sky in an imposing V shape, is close to three metres high. Inspecting the carving Tuesday, Smith said it hasn’t suffered any damage from the year it has been missing.

Victor, who works with Communities in Bloom to take care of the carvings in public spaces throughout the town, said the group is ecstatic about getting this one back.

“We’re so lucky to get this. (Cpl. Harnett) phoned like five times, he followed through, he kept coming back trying to find it for us. I’m just in awe, he did a great job for us. We really appreciate it,” Smith said. Of the 82 carvings around Hope, this one is special for Smith as it was one of the first major artists to showcase his craft in Hope.

The carving was done by Dan Richey in 2009, in the early days of the Hope Chainsaw Carving Competition which got its start in 2004. Richey’s work is seen in several places throughout Hope: a carving featuring Canada Geese outside the Fraser Hope Lodge and a warrior positioned outside Kimchi Restaurant.


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