Police investigate brazen theft at Port museum

  • Nov. 1, 2013 5:00 a.m.

The Port Clements Museum is looking for a brazen thief who broke into an old logging machine on display outside the museum and stole part of the engine. Port mayor Wally Cheer, a member of the museum board, said the thief took six injectors and glow plugs from inside the big yellow LeTourneau Electric Arch, a unique machine that was donated to the museum about 25 years ago. The LeTourneau sits just a few metres from busy Bayview Avenue and is in full view of passing traffic, so the thief must have been particularly brash. Mr. Cheer said it had never occurred to him that someone would steal parts from a museum piece, but there’s a definite motivation: the stolen injectors and glow plugs are worth $1,500 to $2,000 each, and the parts can be sent in to be refurbished or used for credit against new parts. There are many machines working on Haida Gwaii that could make use of these parts, he said. The museum’s LeTourneau is one of only four that were ever used in BC, and it generates a lot of interest from visitors, Mr. Cheer said. It was brought here in 1960 and was used in a logging operation at Slatechuck, according to the museum. Equipped with an unusual electric engine and with cables, the LeTourneau was used to haul logs out of the bush. Mr. Cheer said even though he worked in the BC logging industry for many years, he had never heard of a LeTourneau until he moved to Port and saw the machine outside the museum. The museum board was planning to refurbish the LeTourneau this spring, a job that will be made more difficult by the missing parts. The theft is being investigated by the Masset RCMP. If anyone has any information about this incident, please contact the RCMP at 250-626-3991.