Thursday April 24, 2014

Truck theft leaves contractor high and dry

'All my gear was in it. Everything'
Keith Anderson

Paul Abell shows the spot where his truck was last seen.

With its tinted windows and blue-and-white Residential Contracting logo, Dean Abell hopes police or the public will have an easier time spotting his stolen pickup truck.

“It kind of sticks out,” Abell said Monday — one day after he reported the vehicle stolen to RCMP.

The logo is on three windows of the white 1997 Ford F-150. Inside the vehicle, and of real value to Abell, were his tools, work boots and jackets.

He said the clothing alone is worth a couple of thousand dollars. He needs the jackets and steel-toed boots for his job as a rock-truck driver for Ledcor in Kitimat.

Abell splits his time between Kitimat and Kamloops, where his wife and three-year-old son live.

He drove home for Christmas in mid-December and never thought to take his gear out of the vehicle, which was parked outside his Sahali town home.

“I leave all the stuff in the truck when I’m home,” said Abell. “All my gear was in it. Everything.”

The truck was parked on the street at 1 a.m. Sunday, but it was gone when he woke up at 7 a.m., he said. He felt anger.

“What really sucks about the whole thing is yesterday (Sunday) was the day I was going to take all my gear out of the truck and organize everything (for the return to work),” said Abell.

He usually leaves the truck parked at the Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace but, with a longer stretch of time off at Christmas, he decided to drive home.

“Maybe I should have left it there,” he said.

RCMP are investigating. Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said vehicles are stolen for transportation, the contents inside or to be used to commit another crime.

A generator was taken from the back of a vehicle in Valleyview overnight Saturday, but police don’t believe the crimes are connected, he said.

Contractors and trades workers are in a vulnerable position, he said. Often there’s too much gear to unpack every day, so they leave it in their vehicles.

“If you leave it outside, then it’s vulnerable to tampering from outside sources,” he said. “It’s a risk that every private construction worker deals with.”

Abell said the family has another truck, so he’s not without transportation. It’s the gear and clothing that will be hard, and costly, to replace before he returns to Kitimat Saturday.

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