Two suspects identified in theft of jade boulder in British Columbia: RCMP

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CACHE CREEK, B.C. — The RCMP say they've identified two suspects in an investigation into the theft of a massive slab of low-grade jade from outside a gift shop in B.C.'s southern Interior earlier this month.

Heidi Roy, the owner of Cariboo Jade and Gifts in Cache Creek, says she's thrilled the 1,300-kilogram boulder is back in her possession after a member of the public spotted it about a week after it was taken.

Roy says the metre-wide slab was found lying in a tangle of brush and snow by someone who recognized it because of the publicity the theft received.

She says the slab is largely intact but chipped along its sides and she hasn't yet decide how it will be reinstalled.

Police say the slab is valued at between $20,000 and $50,000, while Roy says it's made of low-grade jade and its value is mostly sentimental.

She says the slab was mined in the Dease Lake area of northern B.C. and brought to Lillooet before her father acquired it in the mid-1980s for the Cache Creek shop, where it's been on display ever since.

The shop has been getting calls from people all over B.C. and beyond since the theft, said Roy, speculating that their interest could be tied to family memories.

"People remember coming through as a child, coming through Cache Creek and stopping at a jade store and so now they come through in the summer with their grandchildren or their children," she said in an interview.

Jade is the official gemstone emblem of B.C., said Roy, adding that the slab makes for a showpiece since mines are remote and most people won't have a chance to see jade in its raw form.

Police say they've identified two suspects in the theft reported on Dec. 19 after surveillance video captured a pickup truck pulling a trailer with an excavator that was used to lift the slab.

The trailer and truck were later found abandoned in different locations.

Roy said it's her guess the thieves didn't realize the effort involved in cutting up the slab and that they might have thought it was worth more.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 29, 2020.

The Canadian Press