Charges have now been laid in the theft of a sculpture of Chief Dan George from an Abbotsford school and its sale to a Mission pawn shop.
Wayne Harold Ervin, 59, was charged Friday (Sept. 13) with theft over $5,000, according to the provincial court database. He is scheduled to make his first appearance in Abbotsford provincial court on Oct. 21.
The date of the offence is listed as July 2, 2018.
The Abbotsford News has not yet been able to confirm whether Ervin worked for the school district and, if so, what disciplinary action has been taken against him. A school district spokesperson said the district does not comment on personnel matters.
The one-of-a-kind sculpture – valued at $8,000 – was made by artist Gerald Sandau of Chilliwack after he was commissioned by Fraser River Lodge in Agassiz.
The lodge, in turn, donated the piece to Chief Dan George Middle School in Abbotsford in 2017.
But when Sandau visited the school on June 26 of this year, he noticed it was missing from its display case.
He then found out that the sculpture had been moved into storage because the multi-purpose room close to where it was being displayed was undergoing renovations.
But a search of the school, storage and school grounds after Sandau questioned its disappearance failed to turn up the piece. School officials filed a police report on July 4.
Following news reports on the matter, including pictures of the missing sculpture, a man reported on social media that he had seen the item in the Mission City Pawn Shop.
Police went to the location and retrieved the piece.
The owner of the pawn shop later told the Abbotsford News that he had purchased the item a year earlier – on July 20, 2018 – for $1,000.
He said he had no idea the artwork was stolen.
– with files from Patrick Penner