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Vehicle theft poses dilemma for Abbotsford family

This work truck was stolen from an Abbotsford family. - Submitted photo
This work truck was stolen from an Abbotsford family.
— image credit: Submitted photo

An Abbotsford family is desperately hoping to recover a Ford truck and other items stolen from their Mt. Lehman Road driveway last Thursday. The brazen daylight theft has left a hardworking father without the vehicle he needs for his mobile welding and fabrication business.

“In my 20s I had two motorcycles stolen in New Westminster and a jeep stolen from me in Abbotsford, and ICBC decided they were no longer going to insure me for theft and comprehensive,” explained Brian Tilbury. This is despite the fact the last theft was in 2001. He tried unsuccessfully to secure private insurance for the business vehicle he uses for Tilbury Industrial Services.

“We have no way to replace this vehicle,” said his wife Joanna Reed. “This is violating us in so many ways. You can go bankrupt and in seven years the slate is wiped clean. It’s been more than 10 years since those thefts.”

The family had just returned from camping and parked their truck and camper trailer in the driveway about 2:30 p.m. Their ATV and John Deere ride-on Gator toy were still strapped onto the back of the truck.

While Reed left with the children in the family’s other vehicle to watch her oldest son’s hockey game, Tilbury locked the Ford diesel and went to have a nap. When Reed returned about 7:30 p.m. , the truck, trailer and ATV were gone.

Reed said this crime is devastating because these thieves have stolen not just their possessions but negated months of hard work and potentially ruined her husband’s livelihood. Tilbury weathered the recession after launching his own business a few years ago, and sacrificed even more to provide for his family by taking work in Labrador for nine months last year.

“Because I offer mobile welding and millwright service it’s kind of hard to tote around my welder. The new truck was an upgrade to handle the equipment. It’s basically killing me right now that this happened.”

Tilbury says he’s not one to quit but is at a loss at how to keep his business going without his truck and the ATV he also used to access remote work sites.

“The other truck that we have is the only vehicle that runs and it’s not as heavy duty. Plus if I use it for the business then Jo has no way to get around with the kids.”

Even more frustrating is that the motion-activated security surveillance cameras for their driveways, purchased in the last year, seem to have inexplicably failed during the crucial time period.

Abbotsford Police recovered the camper last Thursday night from Aldergrove Lake Park, thanks to a diligent park warden who noticed the camper on its own in the larger parking lot and the truck with the ATV and the child’s Gator in the smaller parking lot. Unfortunately when she drove around to examine the orphaned camper, the thieves left with the truck.

Thieves also made off with three helmets and the ramp for the ATV, their daughter’s mountain bike and their digital camera and all the memory cards from the last five years, including the first photos taken after the birth of their newborn Georgia. Reed hopes the thieves will have a heart and at least return the family’s memory cards.

The family is hopeful that someone has noticed the truck, unusual in the way the child’s Gator was strapped to the ATV in the back, or witnessed the culprits cutting the lock to free the camper trailer from the vehicle at Aldergrove Lake Park.

Anyone with information about this theft should contact the Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

– by Karen Murphy Corr, Contributor

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