Karen Moore is happy to have her stolen van back, but was surprised to see break-in tools and other items apparently belonging to the alleged thief still inside.
The Kelowna woman is thrilled RCMP arrested the suspected thief and seized most of the stolen goods he had in the van when he was pulled over three weeks ago.
She can't understand why a screwdriver, shimmy, hunting knife, police-radio scanner and
the suspect's personal papers were still in the vehicle when officers returned it to her this week.
"I have his name and where he lives. Why would police leave that?" she said. "I think they're amazing but . . . I wouldn't drive with rum in my vehicle."
Moore, 52, realized her 1994 Dodge Caravan was missing from a Kelowna parking lot Dec. 12. She and her sister spotted someone driving it the next day on Highway 33. They called 911 and gave police updates as they followed the van.
Mounties stopped the vehicle, filled with stolen goods, and arrested the driver on Dilworth Drive.
They seized the vehicle for forensic analysis and to recover the pilfered items.
Because she lacked theft insurance, Moore had to pay a hefty storage fee to the tow company that impounded the van. After she went public about the charge, the tow company gave her a big discount and towed the van to a mechanic's shop in Vernon for free.
Once repaired, Moore looked inside the van and found numerous things that weren't hers, including an expensive bocce set, a head lamp, binoculars, a teddy bear and earring.
Among the personal papers left by the suspect was a notice to appear in court this month for drug possession. The Lake County man also claims his Dodge pickup was stolen from outside a West Kelowna store in October, according to a letter from ICBC.
The documents, break-in tools and stolen goods made Moore a little unsettled, so she brought them to The Daily Courier on Tuesday before handing them over to the RCMP. She believes they're evidence that could help convict the driver.
Staff Sgt. Dino Zol, who's not involved with the case, says investigators may have overlooked the articles as they emptied the van.
"We should be taking possession of those items," he said. "I don't know if it was an oversight on some of the stuff that was left, or perhaps we didn't believe there was any evidential value.
"I'd like to see everything seized."
The alleged thief, age 29, has yet to make his first court appearance.