Island Jeep community rallies to replace little girl’s stolen Jeep in Sooke


A little girl from Sooke who had her mini Jeep stolen now has a newer and much cooler ride, thanks to the generosity of others.

It all started a few weeks ago when Hailey Tory posted a video on Facebook of her five-year-old daughter, Elianna, pleading for the return of her battery-powered mini Jeep after it was stolen.

“Please bring it back if someone took it, please,” Elianna said in the video.

The video caught the attention of Brian Hewitt, a Jeep enthusiast who created 642 Jeeps, a group that brings together fellow off-roaders in and around Sooke.

“Being a dad, it kind of tugged at my heartstrings a little bit and so I put the word out to the Jeep crew and said ‘Hey, we need to do something about this.’ We made enough money in less than an hour to buy her a new one,” said Hewitt.

After speaking with Elianna’s mom for more than a week, a convoy of Jeeps and off-roaders that included Hewitt and others surprised the five-year-old on Friday with a brand new customized mini red Jeep with decals sporting her name and 642 Jeeps.

“It is the best. I’m super happy I got a new car!” exclaimed the five-year-old, who was absolutely flabbergasted, hiding her face in her mom’s embrace and thanking the crowd repeatedly.

The mini Jeep has working lights, music, and, can even dance, with the suspension grooving to the beat.

“We put out the video hoping the original one would be returned but something more extraordinary happened instead,” said Tory, taking in the dozens of Jeeps and people that showed up to support her daughter.

Hewitt said it was a complete group effort involving members of the community and various companies, including Duncan Dodge, who helped find the Jeep in Vernon, and LORDCO, who handled the shipping.

Traci Lowe, another member of the group said she was pleased to be a part of it.

“I’m 100 per cent on board, happy to be a part of this,” said Traci Lowe, who was part of the group.

Hewitt said he was not at all surprised at the amount of support shown by fellow off-roaders.

“It’s what the wheeling community is all about, we’re all a family here. Everybody came together and we made it happen. We have a happy little girl who has a new Jeep now, it was worth every minute of it,” said Hewitt.

Given a 642 Jeeps branded T-shirt, hat, and sock monkey, Elianna is now part of the Jeep community, already perfecting the ‘Jeep Wave’ as she drives along in her new ride.

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Rebecca Lawrence

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