RCMP investigating after dinosaur disappears from Burnaby family's backyard

·2 min read
John Anderson believes Fred was originally a star of the Alberta pavilion at Expo 86. (John Anderson - image credit)
John Anderson believes Fred was originally a star of the Alberta pavilion at Expo 86. (John Anderson - image credit)

A dinosaur believed to date back to the Expo 86 age — and whose migratory path included a sojourn at a Vancouver car dealership and a spell on the roof of a city residence — has vanished from its last known nest.

John Anderson, the owner of the Burnaby, B.C., property where the five feet tall, 80-pound velociraptor replica named Fred had been living for the past 20 years, says his family's adopted mascot was stolen from their backyard.

Anderson says he noticed the fibreglass model had gone missing on Monday and called police.

"First of all, they laugh," he said. "Then they go, Oh, that's horrible. How could anybody do that? And the second question is, why would anybody do that, you know?"

RCMP spread word of the theft on Twitter, saying they were "dinosaur-y" to report Fred's disappearance.

Anderson, explaining Fred's long and varied backstory, said he believes the reptile replica had originally come from the Alberta pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver and was sold to a car dealership on the city's Marine Drive when the fair ended.

Some years later, when the dealership was redeveloped, the dino found itself atop a rental home rooftop until it was banished by an angry landlord.

That's when the Andersons found Fred, abandoned at the roadside by the renter with a sign around its neck saying: "Need a good home, don't eat much."

Anderson says the fibreglass carnivore had long lost its fearsome lustre — the lights inside its eyes were gone, and its bony skull became a favourite lookout for the family cats.

"[Fred] grew up with my children and, you know, my cats like him. They like to use it as a perch. Keep an eye on things, you know," he said.

John Anderson
John Anderson

Serial thief or Jurassic lark?

Anderson said police are doing what they can, but his neighbours in Burnaby Heights have told him there have been other unsolved thefts from their yards — most notably a concrete Buddha statue.

He said neighbours are checking home security videos for any evidence of the thieves. But Anderson says he isn't holding out much hope and wonders if Fred might have been once again dumped at the side of a road somewhere.

"It's gonna be hard for anyone to fence ... there's probably only one of these around," he said.

"How would you like it if somebody came and stole your dinosaur?"

Anderson said his family would be very happy to get Fred back, and would accept the dinosaur's return with no questions asked.

John Anderson
John Anderson

When CBC News contacted Burnaby RCMP for comment, it confirmed it was investigating the theft and referred to the force's original tweet about Fred's disappearance.

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