Vancouver police have released a photo of a man suspected of stealing irreplaceable Indigenous regalia and drums in downtown Vancouver earlier this month.
The stolen items belonged to members of the Lake Babine Nation, who were in Vancouver for the Gathering Wisdom Conference on Jan. 15.
The group’s van was in a parking lot near West Pender and Richards streets and was broken into in the early morning hours. Among the stolen items were nine pieces of Indigenous regalia, five drums, and traditional boots used during cultural ceremonial presentations. Two items have since been returned to the Carnegie Centre.
“The true value of this ceremonial clothing and drums is not monetary — it’s priceless in terms of the cultural significance to the people of the Lake Babine Nation,” VPD spokesperson Sgt. Aaron Roed said in a news release. “Our investigators have been working diligently on this case but have been unable to locate the items. We believe that someone knows where these items are. We just want them returned.”
The male suspect is described as having a medium build. He was wearing a dark camouflage, hooded sweatshirt under a black puffy vest, and dark pants. He would have been pulling two dark grey suitcases containing the stolen items. The suspect left on a bus travelling east on West Hastings Street.
“The remaining items can be dropped off in any public place like a community centre or our community policing centres, so they can be returned to the Lake Babine Nation,” Roed said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the non-emergency police line at 604-717-3321 or Crime Stoppers anonymously as 1-800-222-8477.