Someone broke into the Chilliwack Military Museum early Sunday (May 15) morning and stole an airsoft Thompson machine gun and as many as 30 bayonets, some dating back to the First World War.
CFB Chilliwack Historical Society president Gord Wozencroft said it’s hard to put a value on the stolen items, but it’s more than that.
“It’s a violation,” Wozencroft said.
He said sometime around 5 a.m. on Sunday a person or more than one person used a cordless grinder to open up the locking mechanism on the front doors to open it up.
The first thing visitors see is a 1942 Harley Davidson military motorcycle, and the Tommy gun was in a leather gun sock.
At the very back of the museum is a display case that held between 20 and 30 bayonets from the First World War, Second World War, the Korean War and other military incursions. The glass was shattered with a hammer, which was left behind, and the bayonets were all stolen.
“It seems like a very targeted theft,” Wozencroft said. “There was money in the donation box not stolen. A laptop on the desk. A cellphone being charged. They didn’t touch any of that.”
The gun stolen is not operable and is an airsoft gun. Airsoft guns shoot plastic projectiles and are used for war games, similar to paintball.
A lot of the pieces in the museum are donated. They are all documented and they have serial number and archival numbers.
The Chilliwack Military Museum, run by CFB Chilliwack Historical Society (CFBCHS), moved from its location on Hocking Avenue underneath the Masonic Hall to Wellington Avenue in early 2019.
The museum is home to more than 30,000 military items, one third of which are currently on display inside dozens of display cases.
The case of the stolen items is in the hands of the RCMP. A forensics member dusted for fingerprints on Sunday, and an officer was on the scene again on Monday interviewing neighbouring businesses.
Wozencroft said they do have images of a person from their security camera, and they are hoping The Royal Hotel across the street captured the suspect or suspects with their security cameras.
“There’s a gun show coming up at Evergreen Hall,” Wozencroft said. “It might show up there.”
Anyone with information on this break-and-enter and theft can all the RCMP at 604-792-4611 and cite file number 22-16839.
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