Ashcroft RCMP have recovered a jade boulder weighing more than 2,850 pounds that was stolen from outside the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek on Dec. 19.
“The jade boulder was recovered intact,” says Sgt. Darren Angman, CO of the Ashcroft detachment. “We have identified suspects, and the investigation is still ongoing.”
Angman says that no arrests have been made and that the investigation is ongoing, as police are still trying to tie the theft to the suspects.
Heidi Roy, whose family owns the Jade Shop and whose father Ben installed the boulder outside the shop in 1985, is thrilled that it has been recovered.
“We are so happy to have it back in one piece, although with a few scars from its adventure,” she tells the Journal. “Thank you to all of you who have been keeping an eye out and sending in tips, as well as kind words of sympathy and encouragement received from across the country.
“It is clear that this stone meant a lot to many more people than we realized.”
Two Ashcroft residents who were returning from Kamloops spotted a pickup truck towing a flat-deck trailer with an excavator on it leaving the Jade Shop parking lot at 11:55 p.m. on Dec. 19. They saw the boulder on the flat-deck and pursued the truck, which was heading east on Highway 1 toward Kamloops. They called 9-1-1 to report the incident, but turned around after a man thought to be associated with the theft threw a boulder at them near the Ghost of Walhachin pullout east of Cache Creek.
Jarrett Fitzpatrick, who was driving the vehicle, says that although the damage to his vehicle “sucked”, he would do it again to try to catch the thieves. He wants to give a big thanks to Bill Elliott and the Cariboo Jade Shop, who contacted him to say that they would pay his deductible for the repairs.
“The fact that I was going to have to pay my deductible really sucked right before Christmas (what a way to end the worst year ever lol),” he wrote in a message to the Ashcroft Journal. “However Bill and the Jade Shop have stepped up and phoned me to let me know that they will be covering it for me.
“To some people it might not seem like much but to someone like me it is so appreciated.”
Police have now determined that at 9:45 p.m. on Dec. 19 the pickup truck, trailer, and excavator were at a hotel parking lot next door to the Jade Shop. At approximately 11:05 p.m. a man was seen walking to the truck, which then drove to the Jade Shop, where the excavator was used to lift the jade boulder onto the trailer.
The suspect vehicle was later seen turning around on the Deadman-Vidette Road, approximately 32 kilometres off Highway 1 west of Savona. Kamloops RCMP later found the trailer abandoned in that area, but the excavator and boulder were gone. On Monday, Dec. 21 Chase RCMP located an abandoned truck matching the pickup truck used in the theft.
The boulder has been a much-loved and -photographed attraction in Cache Creek since it was installed outside the Jade Shop. Despite its size, its commercial value is minimal, as it is composed of low-quality jade. Roy, however, says that it is of great historic and sentimental value to Cache Creek.
“I’m seeing comments from all over the province and the world from people who took a picture of the rock, saying how much it meant to them,” she said, shortly after the boulder was stolen.”To us it’s priceless.”
Police are asking for the public’s assistance with the investigation. Anyone with information about the incident, who was in the area at the time, or who has dash cam footage is asked to contact the Ashcroft RCMP at (250) 453-2216. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).