A stolen truck has been returned to a Surrey car dealership after a very unusual theft – and a very unusual arrest.

On Dec. 19, an employee at the car dealership Haley Dodge in South Surrey handed over a set of keys to a brand new pick-up truck to a man pretending to do a dealer trade.

The suspect then drove off with the truck before staff noticed, police said.

The robbery was captured on surveillance video, which Haley Dodge provided to the RCMP and media. CTV News aired the story on Boxing Day.

Among those watching was Const. Orin MacDonald, a sharp-eyed RCMP recruit with just two months of service under his belt. The constable recognized the suspect from a stolen vehicle file he had dealt with a month earlier where no charges could be laid.

“I saw the news…[and] as I looked at surveillance footage it just popped out at me - it was the same guy I dealt with previously,” said MacDonald, noting he reported what he saw to the lead investigator.

Just days later on New Year’s Eve, MacDonald was on a coffee break with his partner when he saw the same suspect driving the stolen black truck.

“On New Year’s Eve we were sitting having out coffee. I was just looking out the window,” he said. “[The] truck stopped in front of me - and there he was… I couldn’t believe my eyes.”

He and his partner ran the license plate as the suspect went to a nearby liquor store and made the arrest in the parking lot without incident.

Langley resident Dean Williams, 52, has been charged with theft over $5,000 and possession of stolen property over $5,000.

Williams, who is known to police, is expected in court Friday.

The truck was full of drug paraphernalia, but only sustained about $3,000 worth of damage.

Joe Haley, owner of Haley Dodge, says he’s just happy to get the truck back.

“Big thanks to everyone watching and kept an eye out for it,” he said. “And thanks to CTV news for airing it. We got the word out there and it was successful.”

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Sheila Scott