Paul Vandenberg wasn’t just stunned and angry when he found out somebody stole his truck on Carmi Avenue in Penticton this week — he was heartbroken.
At around 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday (Feb. 22), the man’s 1994 Ford F-150 was stolen while parked at a local mechanic’s lot and it wasn’t until 9:00 a.m. when he was informed the vehicle was no longer there.
It’s not the loss of the truck that breaks the heart of Vandenberg’s, however — it’s the disappearance of the items that were inside it.
“The most important thing to me is I had four boxes of my kids’ art over the last 10 years,” he told the Western News while holding back tears.
“Cards they’ve written to me, art they’ve done and school projects. That’s the irreplaceable part of this whole thing.”
The truck — one that van den Berg says is uncommon and hard to find — had only been owned by the man for six months.
A number of sentimental items were inside the vehicle, along with Vandenberg’s personal car tools and sporting goods.
“I’m in the process of moving and I thought ‘well nobody is going to steal this stuff’ so I never thought they’d take my whole truck,” he said.
“I lost all the stuff I was collecting over the years and I made a real point of trying to hold on to that stuff. I was going to give it all to (my kids) when they’ve moved out, surprise them and be the dad that kept everything. Now I don’t have it.”
It’s been almost three days since Vandenberg found out his truck was gone after the mechanic watched the car theft on the business’ security cameras.
The truck owner has yet to receive any information about the incident from Penticton RCMP.
“It’s just been super frustrating,” he said.
“I’m upset I lost my tools and everything but that stuff I can replace over time. The other stuff, I can’t. It’s sentimental stuff.”
Without his beloved vehicle and personal family items, Vandenberg is asking anyone in the public with information to come forward.
After all, it’s not just the truck owner who’s felt the pain of seeing his personal belongings disappear overnight.
“It’s our whole community and our reputation.”