Thieves steal wood from Huu-ay-aht Treaty Settlement Land

Overnight on January 21, 2015, thieves made off with approximately two cubic metres of shake wood from the side of Harris Creek Road, around the 46 kilometre mark on the Bamfield Main Road.

The theft was discovered when Ben Bozak’s crew showed up for work on Thursday morning. The wood had been salvaged from Huu-ay-aht First Nations Treaty Settlement Land on Tuesday. Wednesday the crew began loading the wood and trucking it to the mill to be made into shake and shingles. Bozak is a contractor for Huu-ay-aht, who works with a crew that includes a number of Huu-ay-ahts.

The value of the salvaged wood, which amounted to about two-thirds of a cord, was estimated to be $800. The culprits also made off with two security cameras that monitored the site. These cameras were worth approximately $400 each.

Cst. Peter Batt, of the Port Alberni RCMP, is looking for more information on the crime. He is hoping someone saw the theft or have information that can help apprehend the culprits.

Paul Dagg is the Huu-ay-aht First Nations Forest LP Planning Forester. He says this kind of theft happens quite frequently and is frustrating to the crew.

“These guys work hard in the woods to salvage the wood,” he says. “Then someone comes along and steels it in the middle of the night. It gets them pretty upset.”

Dagg says the crime has been reported to the Compliance and Enforcement branch of the Ministry of Forests, as well as the RCMP. They will keeping their eyes out for anything unusual in the area.

On Thursday night, Bozak pulled his fifth-wheel to the site to offer a bit of security, and at approximately 1 a.m. he heard a vehicle. When he went outside he saw a pickup truck driving away, but nothing was stolen. Dagg speculates that the thieves probably returned the second night but left when they saw someone was there.

If you saw anything suspicious on night of January 21 or the early morning hours of January 22, please contact the RCMP at 250-723-2424 or the Alberni Valley CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-9477.

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