Mark Trueman found a photo of his orca totem 11 years after it was stolen (File contributed/UsedVictora.ca)

Vancouver Islander spots online photo of stolen totem pole 11 years later

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

On a whim one day, Victoria’s Mark Trueman decided to type “orca totem pole” into Google images. Little did he know that just a few scrolls down he’d spot a photo of the totem pole that had been stolen from him 11 years ago.

“I was excited to know it still existed, ” Trueman said.

The photo resurfaced on Pinterest, in a location Trueman was not familiar with. However, even though more than a decade had gone by he knew it was his.

“These things are one of a kind,” Trueman said. “I put more than 200 hours into restoring it,”

PHOTOS: Totem pole comes down in Victoria’s Thunderbird Park

When Trueman worked as an electrical contractor in Duncan, he spotted an ailing totem of an orca on his client’s property and learned it was poised for disposal. Trueman asked if he could have the totem, and the owner gifted it to him.

He spent hours sanding and painting the rotting totem, and replacing the orca’s dorsal fin. When it was complete, he set it up in his front yard in Duncan, building a rock garden around it so it could be on full display. In total it sat around eight feet long and three or four feet wide.

In 2008, however, the totem pole went missing. Trueman had not been living in the house at the time of the theft because he and his wife were finalizing their separation. However, upon realizing that it was missing she called him to see what was going on.

ALSO READ: Linking culture and recovery– Greater Victoria totem project matches people with master carver

Trueman filed a report with the RCMP, but never heard more on the issue.

Now, after spotting the image online he’s done a bit more research. A reverse image search online shows it appearing on the website of Powell River-based Rising Sun Kayak Adventures, a business that is no longer open. A sister business with the same address and office number is also no longer in operation. Black Press has reached out to the company’s email address, which is still operational, but did not hear back by time of publication.

While he’s called the Victoria Police about the find, Trueman is hoping someone from the public can help him track it down.

“It’s not about the monetary value,” he said. “It’s the work that I put into and the fact that it’s a stolen piece of property and it needs to come home.”

Anyone wishing to contact Trueman can email Black Press at the email below.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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