A one-of-a-kind custom carving was stolen from a Christmas display in the front yard of a home in Sylvan Lake, Alta., in early January.
It was not the way owner and wood carver Peter Bennett had hoped to start the new year.
“It’s pretty sad,” he said. “Just disbelief… No way. I know things get stolen all the time but when it happens to you, it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth.”
Sylvan Lake RCMP were called on Jan. 3 about the theft.
Bennett said he was working in studio at around 8 p.m. that night with his headphones on and couldn’t hear anything.
“My wife phoned me, because she was watching TV upstairs, and said: ‘Hey, are you at the front of the house right now?’ And I said no. She said: ‘I just heard a door slam and a vehicle speed away.’
“So I ran out to the front and — I had a big display, a Christmas display with the bears and a moose with Christmas lights in its antlers, a kind of festive, nighttime scene — and the bears had all been pushed to the side, the chain had been cut … and the moose was gone.”
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In a news release, RCMP said the carving, named “Moose on the Loose,” is valued at thousands of dollars and is “of significant importance to the owner.”
“Not everyone wants to buy a bear or a carving,” Bennett said, “but because I’m on the main drag of Lakeshore Drive, every morning I’d put out my bears and carvings and chain them down, and almost every day, someone would put a thumbs up or honk on the horn, or wave at you, (saying) ‘You’re doing a good job.’
“It was pretty nice to get that reaction from people that you’re doing something different.”
A finishing carpenter by day, Bennett took up wood carving as a hobby over the pandemic. He met a chainsaw carver while working on a house in Fernie. They became friends and he took Bennett under his wing and taught him the skills of the trade.
Now, Bennett uses chainsaws, grinders, blow torches and sanders, chisels and varnish to create wood carvings through his company Peter The English Craftsman.
RCMP are hoping to reunite Bennett with his loose moose.
“It’s pretty big,” Bennett said. “It’s five feet tall and quite wide. Someone knows where it is. It would be nice to get it back. It’s kind of a first-world problem, I guess, but it was my showpiece.”
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