$10K reward for golden eagle; search is on for silver decoy
Police have added another strange layer to the case of a stolen golden eagle statue, revealing that they're also searching for a decoy made of silver.
The diamond-encrusted eagle was reportedly stolen with its owner's backpack during a mugging in the parking lot of Pneuma Church in Ladner, B.C. on Sunday, May 29.
Its owner, Ron Shore, was leaving a Christian concert at the church when he was "ambushed" by two men, Delta Det. Sgt. Brad Cooper said Thursday.
Shore said he was hit over the head, which gave him a concussion. He said he ran after his attacker, and caught up with him in time to put his hand through the man’s open car door, but the door was slammed shut.
Shore said he then reached through an open window and grabbed the man inside, but the window was closed on his arm as the driver sped off.
"He was dragged several metres down the roadway," Cooper added.
Shore was eventually freed from the window, and was taken to hospital, but the thieves made off with his backpack and the statue inside.
The Maltese Eagle was commissioned in 2009, and created by artist Kevin Peters. It is made of 14- and 18-karat gold, and contains a 12.72 carat emerald recovered from a 1600s shipwreck. Its head is embedded with 736 diamonds, weighing a total of 56 carats.
At a news conference Thursday, Delta police announced that they have confirmed that two men took the statue. Investigators are searching for a dark-coloured SUV, possibly a GMC Yukon, and a red SUV that may be a Hyundai Santa Fe.
Shore said the men wore black masks with eye holes.
He had a "security person" with him at the event, but police said the person was not in an area where they could be helpful at the time of the attack.
Cooper said investigators received numerous 911 calls the night of the mugging, and that they spoke with several witnesses who were at the scene. They're also reviewing hours of video surveillance footage taken from different locations.
"At the current point, there's more questions that there are answers in relation to the police investigation," Cooper said.
The statue's owner also spoke at the news conference, saying he'd "invested everything" he had into the eagle.
"To say that I put my heart, my soul and my passion into creating this one-of-a-kind eagle is really an understatement," Shore said.
In May, its owner told CTV News that the bird had been appraised at $9 million, but Shore said Thursday that its value is considered to be closer to $7 million.
He said he brought it to the concert in a backpack to disguise its value, rather than drawing attention to it by storing it in a more secure case.
"It may already have been melted down. If that's the case then I will be crushed. I'm hopeful that it's not," he said at the news conference.
Shore said he's offering a $10,000 reward for the eagle's return.
"Some may question why it's a lower amount," Shore said of the reward.
"After putting everything that I own, including the mortgage on my house, into this eagle, I have very little money left over... and even that money has to be borrowed."
Shore said he hopes to rebuild the eagle, and said he'd be grateful for the sponsorship of any gold or diamond mines willing to help.
He added that "under no circumstances" is the theft an insurance scheme. Police confirmed the statue was insured, but would not say for how much.
"I'm really not interested in the insurance money, because it really doesn't cover what I put into it," he said.
"I'm not responsible in any way for this theft, and I only seek to get the eagle back."
Shore told media that his plan was to sell the eagle and put on a series of concerts to benefit breast cancer research, in honour of his mother and sister-in-law. His brother also died of cancer.
He then addressed those in the music industry, saying that he would appreciate their help to put on the concerts, even without the proceeds from the eagle.
Canada Revenue agency records reviewed by CTV News show that Shore’s cancer charity, “Hunting for a Cause Foundation,” declared $2925 in donations and spent $3943 from 2010 to 2014.
Toward the end of the news conference, Shore admitted that "there was another decoy eagle" present at event, and that both had been stolen.
The second eagle is made of silver, and of "substantial" value, he said. Police would not provide a description of the decoy, nor would they provide an exact dollar value for the second bird.
The Maltese Eagle was on display with a silver eagle called “Waiting to Soar” in May, with a posted value of $53,750. It has been described as solid silver.
Shore said said the decoy was in a different backpack, but did not provide more information on how it was stolen.
An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with tips about the eagles' whereabouts or information about the crime is asked to call 604-946-4411.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Jon Woodward
$9m eagle owner Ron Shore offering a $10,000 reward for return of the golden eagle. pic.twitter.com/Dsxx3w37jv— Jon Woodward (@ctv_jon) June 9, 2016