A bell theft is taking a toll on a museum in Port Alberni.
The brass bell is the original bell on the Alberni Pacific Railways’ Two-Spot Steam Locomotive, which Richard Spencer, director of the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society, says was an important train for the region.
“The Two Spot worked its entire life in the Alberni Valley,” Spencer said. “In 1952, it was donated to the City of Port Alberni and it was the original artifact in the Alberni Valley Museum’s [industrial] collection.”
On Wednesday, a volunteer went to the locomotive shed and noticed the brass bell on the Two-Spot was missing.
“Then we went and investigated and tried to look at okay, well what happened to it, and we looked at the bracket the bell was sitting on and it looks like it was cut off,” Spencer said. “Then we noticed a hole in the fence, so we assume that the bell was stolen.”
A few years ago, another bell was stolen off another train, so the museum had taken precautions to prevent this bell from being stolen.
“We took precautions in the past, we used to put it on public display over at the train station every week when we were operating our train,” Spencer said. “We were worried about it getting taken, so we did make sure that it was welded down, they couldn’t just unbolt it. And recently, for the last few years, it’s been locked in a caged compound, with a fence around it.”
The bell is very heavy, so Spencer says he’s not sure if one person would have been able to carry it alone.
Spencer says the museum checked its cameras but the theft was not caught, so they are hoping police will be able to find cameras nearby that might have caught something.
CHEK News reached out to the Port Alberni RCMP but did not receive a response by the time of publishing. If a response is received the story will be updated.