Who would steal statues from the grave sites of members of B.C.’s most notorious gang?
That’s the question friends and family of Duane Meyer and Evan Appell are asking after two-foot-high stone lion statues went missing in recent weeks from the ornate burial site at Vedder View Gardens Cemetery in Chilliwack.
|The grave sites of United Nations gang members Duane Meyer and Evan Appell on June 16, 2020 in Vedder View Gardens Cemetery in Chilliwack. There were two lion statues at the grave site that went missing in recent weeks. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)|
Many Chilliwack residents may not know the ornate grave sites dedicated to two United Nations (UN) gang members are in Chilliwack, but 12 years ago when Meyer’s funeral was held, it drew full-patch members of the Hells angels and UN gang members, as well as broadcast media and police attention who video recorded those in attendance.
The two grave stones feature the large UN logo prominently below Chinese characters and above the words “Honor. Loyalty. Respect.” Both graves also include the saying: “United forever, forever united.”
There are also Japanese maple trees planted at the grave site and a black stone bench with the words: “Gone but never forgotten.”
Duane Harvey Meyer was a former Hells Angels prospect and UN gang member who, at age 41, was gunned down in Abbotsford on March 8, 2008. Evan Appell was a UN gang member who died of a drug overdose on March 3, 2005.
Sitting on either side of the bench for more than a decade were two stone lions, statues that went missing in recent weeks. As of April 25 when a Progress reporter walked by, the lions were there, but family and friends recently reported on social media outrage at the theft of lions from the site.
“I’m beyond livid,” one individual close to the family posted. “They need to be replaced.”
“Regardless of public opinion toward the lifestyles of the two men, how can desecration of a grave be acceptable and not spoken of,” a source told The Progress.
No one so far close to the two men have wanted to speak on the record about the stolen statues, given the serious nature of the gang ties involved.
As for the cemetery, an employee said no police report had been filed, in part because theft of minor items such as flower pots, even a tarp, is not uncommon.
“Things go missing from cemeteries.”
Even an individual close to the family who is upset about the theft does not assume it was a specific attack on the men or even the UN gang, but more likely just random property theft.
There is a move to have the statues replaced from a store in Vancouver’s Chinatown, which is where the original lions were purchased.
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