Calgary man spots stolen truck outside Pick-N-Pull used parts yard

A Calgary man was reunited with his stolen truck just moments before it was to be moved into a used auto parts yard.

Dave Lawrence's 1990 GMC Sierra was stolen on Dec. 1 in northeast Calgary.

Earlier this week, Lawrence was driving along 52nd Street S.E., when he noticed a black truck that looked like his missing one, right down to a sticker on the tailgate.

"When I saw my truck in this parking lot, I was happy," he said. "After four months I knew my truck was still here."

He pulled over and confirmed it was his truck — damaged and without wheels — in the parking lot outside Pick-N-Pull, a self-service used auto parts business.

Workers were about to move the truck with a forklift into the yard and close up for the day.

"I yelled at them, 'Hey guys, oh my god, this is my truck. It's been stolen since December.' That was met with, 'No it's not your truck, it's our truck. We just bought it. We've got the bill of sale.'"

Lawrence called police and stood on the forks of the front-end loader.

"I knew he wasn't going to pick my truck up if he was standing on his machine," Lawrence said.

Pick-N-Pull did not respond to requests from CBC News for an interview.

Lawrence said the tow truck driver who brought the vehicle to Pick-N-Pull told police he bought it off someone in northeast Calgary for $100.

Truck badly damaged

Police arrived and confirmed that the truck was stolen by checking the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Lawrence arranged to have the truck towed to his house.

"Whoever stole the truck gutted the inside of it. They took the wheels off. There's some damage to the truck here and there. I haven't been able to check out if the engine to see if it's still good on it yet."

No requirement to check VIN

Lawrence said it's free and easy for anyone to check a VIN online.

But there are no regulations requiring auto recycling businesses to do a title search to ensure the vehicle hasn't been stolen, said Det. David Bailey from the Calgary police's auto theft team.

Bailey said he would like to see the rules changed.

"The legislation was probably adequate for back in the day," he said. "But I just believe it's struggled to keep up with technology and the criminal element's use of technology and that's where we have to be more speedy in looking at legislation — closing loopholes — so we don't have more victims."

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