Al Capone prop with Haida Gwaii connection stolen

  • Aug. 17, 2011 4:00 p.m.

A propeller previously owned by Al Capone, and belonging to a boat that ran aground on Haida Gwaii eleven years ago, was stolen last week in West Vancouver.The 140-pound brass propeller was snatched out of Joe Spears’ yard, and it’s uncertain who stole it. Or how they did so without being seen.The propeller originally belonged to Al Capone’s vessel that was built as a fishing boat in Nova Scotia during the 1930s. In secrecy its six-cylinder engines were switched with 12-cylinder ones, increasing speed and enabling her to be a rumrunner during the United States prohibition of alcohol.The boat was seized in 1945 and purchased by a marine surveyor, renamed Texada, and used as a camp vessel for forestry activity here on Haida Gwaii. When it ran aground in 2000, the vessel was salvaged, and Joe Spears of West Vancouver got the propeller.He had intended to donate the propeller to a National Maritime Centre, but he can’t do that now. Not unless the prop reappears.