More than a year since the wildfire and evacuation and one Fort McMurray resident is finally being reunited with her stolen necklace.
On Thursday, Kristi Hines received a call from the RCMP to come and pick up her grandma’s necklace. This was the first time Hines had seen the heirloom since she evacuated the area.
“I was very excited to come and retrieve it, I didn’t expect to be that happy when I put it on but if you look at the picture on facebook, I have a big smile on my face.”
Shortly after re-entry, Hines came back to the community to find out that her home was ransacked. Around $30,000 worth of materials were stolen, including the necklace.
“They took Apple TV boxes, binoculars, cameras, they took a couple pieces of valuable jewelry.”
On June 22, 2016, Wood Buffalo RCMP asked for the public’s help in locating an 18-year-old man who had robbed multiple homes in Timberlea and Thickwood, including Hines’ home.
After finding out his name, she contacted him over Facebook, receiving a message a few days later.
“I hope it didn’t mean much to you. Sorry about your stuff. I really wish people didn’t have to do this. It doesn’t feel good having things stolen from you.”
Also in the message, the teen told Hines he sold the items to an Edmonton Jewelry store. However, after contacting the store, they couldn’t find her belongings.
According to Hines, police found the necklace after searching the man’s home. The only problem, one of her neighbours, whose home was also robbed, believed the jewelry was theirs.
“I’m not sure what their intentions were but it’s a very specific necklace, it’s an ivory cameo on a beige background with pearls and a gold necklace and I was able to catalogue it with pictures of all the other jewelry that was stolen so it was quite obvious that the other person was mistaken.”
Police held onto the necklace up until Hines was able to prove the jewelry was hers.
“This is probably the most sentimental for sure, I did have a couple other valuable items I had purchased on trips, but I didn’t realize how happy I was going to be to get it back”
Originally her grandmother’s, it was passed down to her mother who gave it to Hines. She notes one of her two daughters will also get the necklace when she’s ready to pass it along.