North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are probing the theft of several unique chainsaw carvings created by a Nanaimo artist from Mountain Peak Creations in Chemainus.
A security camera triggered by a motion sensor at the back door of the store at 9347 Island Hwy, near the corner of Henry Road, around 2:10 a.m. Wednesday morning shows a man walking up the building holding what appears to be a black crowbar.
The owners of the family-run business allege several carvings were snatched, at least three of which are extremely unique and valued at upwards of $850, as well as a case of woodturned pens made by a local retired senior.
Nanaimo chainsaw artist Danny Peterson said the pieces were carved only in the last couple of months during a period when “I was pushing myself to the limit.”
“It’s something that was unique and out of the ordinary of what I would normally carve,” said Peterson. “When I carved those things I was working 18 hours a day. My hands were so numb I couldn’t hold a phone…that’s the stuff that hurts. They’re pieces that are over and above anything I’ve ever done before.”
Peterson and his son spent Wednesday reviewing security camera footage and piecing together the sequence of events.
The one man is seen on the video approaching the building while another is behind the wheel of what’s believed to be a black Ford or Dodge truck.
The alleged thief attempted to disable one set of cameras, all the while with a cigarette in his mouth, but a second camera produced clear video and stills to be handed over to the RCMP of the crime in progress.
Unfortunately for Peterson he can only watch helplessly as countless hours of hard work is carried out of his store by the armful.
Last Thursday, a five foot high carving weight 300 lbs called Wood Spirit was allegedly stolen from Tyler Cochrane Chainsaw Carvings on Drinkwater Road in Duncan.
The incident occurred while Cochrane went to grab a coffee for half an hour shortly before 9 a.m.
“There were some larger carvings in the yard at the same time, but I guess they took Wood Spirit because it was smaller. I think they were watching my property waiting for me to leave to do this,” he said.
Cochrane said this is the fifth time in the last four months that he has had carvings, tools and other material stolen from his property.
He said thieves cut the locks of his heavy cargo trailer door and made off with $3,000 worth of chainsaws and other material.
RCMP would not confirm if the two incidents are related.