Stone griffin and 15 kayaks stolen in pair of bizarre Calgary thefts – Calgary |

Michelle Cheverie and her husband received a 300-pound griffin statue as a wedding gift eight years ago. It proudly sat outside their Cochrane, Alta., home until they moved to Calgary two years ago, where it took up residence in their front yard.

“It’s a griffin that comes from my husband’s Celtic clan shield, so it did have some significance,” said Cheverie. “It was chosen. It wasn’t just some random gift that was given to us.”

Cheverie says it has become a bit of a fixture on her quiet street, with daycare children stopping to pet it as they walk by and her family decorating it for special occasions. On Saturday, July 15, it was stolen from her yard.

“We heard nothing. Our camera faces a different way so we didn’t catch anything on camera. There were no tracks. It didn’t look like anybody had wheeled a dolly or anything up to the statue, but it definitely would have taken a few people,” said Cheverie.

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Cheverie posted the theft on the Nextdoor app, asking neighbours to keep an eye out for the bird-like statue. She said it took off on social media, with people asking all sorts of questions.

“It became a bit of a joke… people (were) like: ‘Now we have to take our picnic table in at night,’ and: ‘Somebody’s going to take our fountain,’” explained Cheverie.

“If people are going to take a 300-pound statue, what’s safe?”

The statue has been returned. A neighbour found it abandoned in a blue bin in the alley and contacted Cheverie to let her know where it was. While Cheverie is thankful the griffin is back in its rightful spot, she does wonder why someone would take it in the first place.

“It’s not somebody walking by thinking: ‘That looks cool. I’m going to take it.’ There was a plan behind this.”

Click to play video: 'Surveillance video of 4 boats being stolen'

Surveillance video of 4 boats being stolen

It also appears there was a plan behind a theft on the other side of town at a local business.

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Staff at AQ Outdoors came to work on Wednesday morning only to find that 15 to 20 kayaks used for training purposes had been stolen from a secure storage area.

“They came in through Blackfoot Motocross and cut through their fence, cut through our fence and took the boats,” said Simon Coward, director at AQ Outdoors.

“They parked 200 metres or so to the south in the food bank volunteer parking lot where’s there no video cameras, and we actually found little scraping of kayaks where they dragged them along.”

Coward said the replacement cost to AQ Outdoors is about $25,000, adding each one would get between $800 and $1,500 on the resale market if they could find a buyer.

“We’re very involved in the paddle community,” said Coward. “So, if they show up on Marketplace, we’ve got lots of eyes out there.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary family pleads for safe return of stolen lion statues with irreplaceable sentimental value'

Calgary family pleads for safe return of stolen lion statues with irreplaceable sentimental value

Coward says it would be hard to sell the used boats because of all the paddlers looking for them. The struggle will be getting through the busy summer season and all the courses scheduled whiteout them.

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“The thing that has been pretty amazing is how many people have reached out to us and offered boats to us to use to get through our courses,” said Coward.

“We’re essentially going to rent off a few organizations until the end of the season because the logistics of trying to get new kayaks up here… It’s going to take longer than we have.”

Coward has a simple message for the thieves looking to offload the boats: “If you stole it, just bring it back. We might even give you a six pack of beer. I’d be really happy to get them back.”

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