The theft of a heritage wagon wheel from the front deck of a Surrey home last week has hit Bob Beitel hard – it’s a piece of history he can’t replace.
Built by his grandfather, who homesteaded in Saskatchewan in the early 1900s, the steel-rimmed, wooden wheel has graced Beitel’s property for about eight years; sometimes as an accent in his garden, but usually next to his front door.
Last September, it was a prop in his daughter’s wedding.
Sometime overnight Feb. 8-9, someone decided to take it, leaving tracks in the snow that showed it was rolled along 59A Avenue for about a block, to 148 Street, where Beitel suspects it was then placed into a vehicle for transport.
“It’s torn me apart to feel somebody had an attitude about taking it,” the retired Mountie said last week. “It’s really not much value to anybody else. It’s invaluable to me because of what it means to my family.”
Beitel said the wheel was once part of a wagon that he and his dad used to haul grain on the “not very big” 160-acre farm in Spring Valley, Sask., where he grew up.
While the wagon was damaged in a windstorm, the wheel – estimated at more than 70 years old – was salvaged.
Measuring about four feet across, it “means a whole lot,” Beitel said.
“These kinds of things, it’s a reminder of my lovely, lovely parents,” he said, noting that while his dad has passed away, his mom recently turned 100 years old.
“Anything that reminds us particularly of home is extra.”
Beitel said a police report on the theft was made. As well, footage from neighbours’ surveillance cameras has been reviewed.
Unfortunately, while the footage showed some activity in the neighbourhood, it was “not enough to really tie anybody to the wheel itself,” he said.
Now, he’s hoping a public appeal will prompt the culprit to do the right thing.
“Just bring it back in the condition that it was in,” Beitel said. “It would be so wonderful.”
Anyone with information on the wheel may contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.