Lawn ornament bandit raids local gardens

Lake Cowichan resident Johanna Phillips, woke to discover that her laughing Buddha garden ornament had been stolen from her front lawn.

On Wednesday, Aug. 15, local Lake Cowichan resident Johanna Phillips, woke to discover that her laughing Buddha garden ornament had been stolen from her front lawn.

“I only had [the Buddha] for two months,” said Phillips.

Phillips worked the night shift on Tuesday, and when she arrived home she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. “I didn’t notice until the morning,” she said. “I am sure it was there the day before.”

The Buddha is roughly 18 inches tall and weighs approximately 50 pounds. Because of its weight, Phillips does not believe the robbery could be the work of teenagers. Instead, she thinks that it has to be someone with a vehicle, and believes the culprits stole it so they could sell it to a pawn shop.

“I bet it’s in Duncan, or who knows where by now,” said Phillips. She says she did walk around her neighbourhood when she first discovered the Buddha missing, but found no sign of it anywhere.

The incident happened only a few days after a couple of residents in Youbou also discovered some of their garden ornaments missing, and Sgt. Voller of the Lake Cowichan RCMP doesn’t think it’s a coincidence.

“It’s possible [it’s the same perpetrator] because it’s the same type of occurrence,” said Voller. “Otherwise there are culprits stealing in Youbou and Lake Cowichan at the same time.”

Police have no suspects at this time.

The same type of incident occurred last year, but with a slightly different twist. Instead of making off with the ornaments, never to have them seen again, the culprits left them on display at the roundabout on King George Street. After they were turned into the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment, “we were stuck trying to find homes for them,” said Voller.

Phillips says the Buddha has special meaning to her. She spent a long time looking for just the right ornament to place over her beloved dog Blitz’s grave. Blitz was 12 years old when he passed, “and we spoiled her,” said Phillips.

“They [the thiefs] can bring it back in the middle of the night, I don’t care,” said Phillips. She just wants it returned.

She says that if it is returned, she will be cementing it in place so that something like this can’t happen again.

Anyone with information about this theft, or the ones in Youbou, can call the Lake Cowichan RCMP at 250-749-6668.


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