A man is behind bars and a stolen skateboard might keep him there.
This week Coquitlam RCMP confirmed that several charges have been recommended against a man who may have been behind a spate of thefts in Port Coquitlam this past summer.
The man’s fate has yet to be determined by the courts.
However, evidence generated through CCTV evidence and the work of neighbours collaborating on Facebook may help keep him in jail.
The story starts with information posted to the Port Coquitlam Community Facebook page on Oct. 14.
That’s when the Murray family posted to Facebook an image captured on CCTV footage of a man stealing a custom skateboard from outside their Port Coquitlam home on Aug. 20.
Unbeknownst to the Murrays, that same skateboard was left at a home a few blocks away during a burglary later that night.
Sue Beveridge, whose home was burgled while she and her daughter were awake, says it was a horrifying experience.
‘HE TOOK MY CAR AND LEFT A SKATEBOARD’
“He took my car and I got a skateboard,” said Beveridge, who said the thief snuck into her home and stole purses, wallets and car key fobs.
She didn’t know why he left behind a skateboard but Coquitlam RCMP grabbed it for evidence.
That skateboard — with its distinctive dog logo — was the beloved keepsake of a Port Coquitlam teen who recently moved to the city with her family.
Teagan Murray, 16, said the skateboard was a gift from her uncle, who owns a skateboard shop in Tofino.
The board, a popsicle-style custom board, has a distinctive dog logo representing her uncle’s beloved pet, and only 10 were ever made.
“I was so upset,” said Murray, recalling the day the board was discovered missing.
Murray, a Grade 12 student, is so busy with school, it took her until Oct. 12 to discover it was missing.
“We thought it was gone,” she said.
“I felt so bad,” recalled mom, Shona, who was the one who left it outside in the summer after dropping off her daughter at a camp where she worked. “We looked everywhere for it.”
FACEBOOK POST WAS A ‘LONG SHOT’
As a long shot, she posted on the Port Coquitlam Community Facebook page an image of the board and a screenshot from the CCTV video showing a man grabbing it.
A few blocks away, the Beveridges saw the post on Facebook, and thought the skateboard could be the one left at their house.
They messaged Shona Murray; it turns out they were right.
Police were called and last week Teagan was reunited with her beloved skateboard.
“A lot of lucky things came out of an unlucky situation,” said Teagan.
The two families have since connected and Beveridge is even talking about starting a Block Watch group.
SEVERAL CHARGES HAVE BEEN RECOMMENDED
“I think it was good to do something nice for someone,” said Beveridge who told the Tri-City News she hopes the evidence from the Murray’s CCTV camera linking the board to the theft at her home will help put the man in jail.
Coquitlam RCMP confirmed the story and said several charges have been recommended, including
• one count of break and enter
• one count of theft over $5,000
• one count of unauthorized use of a credit card
The man, who is known to police, was picked by the RCMP’s prolific target team police on suspicions related to the break and enter and is currently in custody.
“Community collaboration” helped solve not just one, but two crimes, said RCMP media spokesperson Const. Deanna Law.
“This is an ideal situation: two victims and social media used in a positive way,” she said.