Abbotsford police have retrieved the Chief Dan George sculpture missing from the middle school of the same name after it was spotted at a Mission pawn shop.
“[The sculpture] has been recovered and returned to the Abbotsford School District. The matter remains under investigation,” said a spokesperson for the Abbotsford Police Department.
Before the police reclaimed the sculpture, the owner of the Mission City Pawn Shop told The News that it was not the same one that disappeared from Chief Dan George Middle School.
He said although his sculpture was also made by Gerald Sandau, it is the larger of two versions made and not the one missing from the middle school.
“It’s not the same piece,” he said. “[The missing sculpture] is probably the smaller one.”
Sandau, when contacted by the The News, said the sculpture he made was an original and there was not more than one version made.
Sandau was originally commissioned to create the sculpture by Fraser Lodge, which in turn donated the artwork to the middle school in 2017. The school held a ceremony to honour Sandau, who spent a year creating the sculpture.
Abbotsford police became aware of the sculpture’s disappearance after Sandau visited the school on July 26 and asked why the statue was missing from its display case. The school district filed a police report a week later.
In the pawn shop, directly beside the sculpture, were pictures of Sandau at Chief Dan George Middle School beside the sculpture during the 2017 ceremony.
The pawn shop owner said the statue was sold to him a year ago.
“I’ve known this guy for a long time, he’s been a long-term customer,” he said. “So you need to get your facts straight.”
Tseskinxem Louie had been in the pawnshop to buy tools on July 11 and took note of the sculpture because he is distantly related to Chief Dan George.
“I thought it was pretty cool. [The pawn shop owner] said it took two people to get it up there, so it’s really heavy,” he said.
The pawnshop owner also told him it was one of a kind.
When The News visited the shop Friday morning, no price was displayed for the statue. Louie said the sculpture was being sold for $4,500 when he visited.