'Al Capone's' propeller saved from scrap metal yard, again

A propeller rumoured to have connections to American gangster Al Capone has been recovered once again from a scrap metal dealer after being stolen from the yard of a West Vancouver home.

West Vancouver Police say the 136-kilogram brass propeller was reported stolen from the owner's Horseshoe Bay area yard on Nov. 22.

Media coverage led to tips that led investigators led to a metal-recycling company in Squamish, where the propeller was recovered and a suspect was identified.

The suspect Jason Michael Fox, 41, of Squamish was arrested on Jan. 10 by police in Vancouver during a traffic stop.

Police say Fox appeared in court last Friday on a charge of possession of stolen property and is expected to be back in North Vancouver provincial court on Jan. 29.

The latest incident was the second time the propeller was stolen. In 2011 it was recovered from a North Vancouver scrap metal yard. A 55-year-old homeless man was arrested and convicted in that incident.

Police have advised the propeller's owner to ensure it is better secured to prevent any future thefts.

According one report by Globe and Mail reporter Tom Hawthorne the propeller was once used to power a wooden schooner that served as a rum running vessel on the East Coast in the 1930's.

While the vessel was rumoured to be run by Al Capone, and some holes in the hull linked to a blaze of machine gun fire, the documented connections to the legendary gangster are actually fairly slim.

In 1938 the vessel was brought round to the West Coast. While in B.C. it served as a police vessel, complete with floating courtroom, then as a navy reserve vessel and fish packer, before finally running aground in Haida Gwaii in 2000.

The present owner ended up with the propeller at the end of the salvage operation, and decided to use it as a garden ornament outside of his Horseshoe Bay home.