April was not a good month for Jeep Cherokees in Revelstoke.
Local RCMP said two stolen Jeeps were recovered in the area last month.
One local resident had her Jeep stolen twice in the same week, around the Easter weekend. The second time, there was extensive damage to the vehicle.
The first time it happened, it seemed like an average day. Ashley Malon said she got in her car to drive to work, but soon realized something was wrong.
|Ashley Malon has been without a vehicle since last month. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)|
“When I got in my car, I rolled the windows down because I thought the car smelled like pot. And I don’t smoke and definitely not in a car,” said Malon.
She later noticed that the car was filthy. Caked on mud inside and out and a large scratch on the exterior. She suspected someone had broken into her car, taken it for a joy ride and later returned it to her parking spot.
So, Malon phoned the RCMP. She said she does not know how the thief started her vehicle. It’s possible he or she found her spare key, somewhere.
Malon has yet to locate her spare key.
|The windows were smashed and Malon said it looks like someone jumped on the roof and throw rocks at the vehicle. (Submitted)|
Several days later, Malon awoke to a friend’s text asking if she was out because her car was gone.
“I literally jumped out of bed, got dressed and ran outside. And it was. That’s when I broke down and called the cops.”
Revelstoke RCMP later found her 2017 Jeep Cherokee near the Illecillewaet River by Airport Way Road. The windows were smashed, a wheel destroyed and Malon said it looked like the thief or thieves had thrown rocks at the vehicle and jumped on the roof.
The RCMP said in an email statement that there were no signs of forced entry and they speculated the missing spare key was likely recovered by the person who took the vehicle and went joy riding.
Malon said she bought the Jeep two years ago and it had less than 10,000 kilometres on it.
She said she had no idea who would steal and destroy her car. However, she wants to raise awareness because she feels “someone knows something.”
Malon thinks it will happen again.
“Maybe not to me,” she said. “But it’s going to happen again unfortunately. It happens everywhere. We can’t always be in our bubble.”
RCMP Cpl. Thomas Blakeny told Black Press in a written response that cases like Malon’s are difficult to solve because catching the culprit behind the wheel would have been the best-case scenario.
A 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee was also found abandoned on the Arrow Lakes Reservoir River flats last month.
Blakeny said the vehicle was never reported as stolen and was from Calgary, Alberta. Its current owner is an insurance company as the original owner had it towed as a result of a motor vehicle collision in Calgary 10 years ago.
|This 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee somehow got to Revelstoke from Calgary after being being given up by its original owner after a vehicle accident in 2009. (Facebook)|
“It is possible the vehicle was stolen out of Calgary, with the keys in the vehicle, possibly from an impound lot or (someone) obtained the vehicle without going through the proper registration and insurance procedures,” wrote Blakeny.
He noted the original owner had no ties to Revelstoke and was just as curious as the police as to how the vehicle, expected to be demolished in 2009, ended up in Revelstoke.
Blakeny said vehicles being dumped on the river flats is rare.
So far, four vehicles have been stolen this year in the Revelstoke area, three of which have not been recovered.
Last year, 20 were stolen, six of which were recovered in Revelstoke and 11 were recovered in other jurisdictions.