Kelowna heavy equipment owner confronts alleged thief

Troy Chapman inspects his mini-excavator, looking for damage. The machine was recently recovered after it was stolen from a Kelowna construction site in broad daylight a few weeks ago.

“They drove it up to this gravel pile, got it up on top, backed up a pick-up or whatever they get it into and loaded it up and took off,” said Chapman.

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Surveillance video captured the truck with the excavator in the back. The truck is key in this investigation because although the thieves hid the stolen excavator, they made no effort to conceal the truck, which was seen parked on Yates Road in the Glenmore area on several occasions.

“We scoped out the truck and seen it on Yates Road, let the RCMP know.  They had an investigation going and wanted us to kind of back off,” said Chapman. “It was hard for us to back off because we wanted to catch the guy and get our equipment back.”

Even though police told Chapman to back off, he couldn’t resist and one day followed the truck from the Yates Road area to the Canadian Tire gas bar on Highway 97 in Kelowna. There, Chapman confronted the man he believes who stole his excavator.

Part of their exchange was caught on Chapman’s cellphone, with Chapman stating the man got in his truck and took off.

Shortly after that confrontation, police tracked down Chapman’s excavator to a storage facility in Kelowna.

“There was nothing else in the unit besides the excavator,” said Chapman.

Kelowna RCMP have yet to release details about how they found the excavator, or if they’ve made any arrests. But to Chapman, all that matters is that he got his excavator back and just in the nick of time, because he thinks it was headed out of town.

“Pretty much right to the minute I would say,” said Chapman. “It was loaded up and ready for transport.”

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