Truck with significant sentimental value stolen from Kamloops man

It's big. It's loud. It's orange. And it's missing.

Residents of Kamloops probably recognize the big orange 1983 GMC 2500 pickup truck, pictured above.

It's been sitting outside of the Active Care Auto in Valleyview for a while. Dustin Thomas (part owner of the business) finished restoring it, a project he started with his father who's since passed.

It went missing on Sunday night (June 9).

"It was bought in 1983," Thomas says. "It was a farm truck, my old man's cousin had a farm. It stayed on the farm for 25 years."

Thomas's dad, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016, brought the truck to Kamloops some 10 years ago. 

"He was gone in three months," Thomas tells KamloopsMatters, recalling how fast the cancer spread.

The pair was restoring the truck at the time.

"He helped me do all the bodywork on it before he passed away," Thomas says. "He was like my best buddy. He's the reason I'm a mechanic today. I don't have very much left of him."

The orange pickup is one of the things he did have. 

In an effort to get it back, he's offering $1,000 to anyone with information that leads to the truck's return.

Thomas is concerned the truck is being chopped up (that's when a vehicle is taken and disassembled for parts). He notes the paint job wasn't the nicest, but he'd been restoring it for a while, so there were plenty of new parts on the inside, like a bright green engine. He estimates he put about $20,000 into the truck over the winter.

The plan was to make it the mascot of the business.

His Facebook post, alerting friends what had happened, has more than 725 shares, and that number is rising. 

"If car thieves would have stolen (it), where would they take it?" he asks. "You'd think we'd hear about it in the last 48 hours."

Thomas and his wife have tried to find it themselves, driving to hotel parking lots Monday night (June 10) and checking popular backroads in case someone took it for a joy ride and dumped it.

"We've kinda scoured the Barnhartvale area, Rose Hill area, checked the hotels in Valleyview," he says, adding others have been reporting back to him about what they've seen. "I've had lots of support from the community."

He notes it's not the easiest truck to drive, being raised as high as it was. His goal was to make it as big as he could, legally.

"I'm just thinking, someone would really have to want that truck."

The theft is a slap in the face, he says, adding he feels targeted since it was such a recognizable vehicle.

He's reported the theft to police and they've started an investigation. Footage is being collected from neighbouring businesses.

Currently, he's also fighting with ICBC over coverage, because of where the truck was parked in relation to Active Care Auto.

Anyone who sees the pickup or has information can call the RCMP at 250-828-3000; the police file number is 2019-18-498.

The truck is a 1983 GMC 2500. It's been raised and painted orange, though the driver's door is currently Navy blue due to recent damage. The tires have Monster branded caps, but Thomas says they can be easily removed.

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