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RCMP recover stolen excavator, return it to Comox Valley owner

Machine located south of Nanaimo; no charges yet as investigation continuing
An excavator reported stolen in March from the Comox Valley was recovered on a rural property south of Nanaimo last week. (Submitted photo)

An excavator stolen from the Comox Valley earlier this year has been returned to its rightful owner after being recovered in Nanaimo.

According to a press release, the Nanaimo RCMP’s street crimes unit seized the Kubota U17 from a rural property in south Nanaimo on May 5 and returned it to Joelena Piket, owner and operator of Rise and Shine Excavating-Landscaping.

Piket had reported the equipment missing March 9 and had reported it to Comox Valley RCMP and made social media posts, but it didn’t immediately yield any results, said the press release. In late April, she received tips that it could be in Nanaimo at which time she contacted Nanaimo RCMP, who started an investigation, recovered the excavator and returned it to her May 6.

The excavator, valued at $40,000, can’t be used until repairs have been made as there has been some $15,000 in damage, say police. The roof of the vehicle needs to be be replaced as it had been removed, and gears which had been stripped also need replacing, said the press release.

While there haven’t been charges laid, police say the investigation is continuing.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson, lauded the work of police.

“Our officers knew how much the excavator meant to the survival of [Piket’s] business,” said O’Brien in the press release. “They turned over a lot of stones looking for it, and eventually, their hard work paid off.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Piket to help her recoup losses due to the employment she lost due to the theft.

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