Ron Shore holds a solid silver eagle statue at Portage and Main St in Winnipeg Nov. 3, 2010. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Winnipeg Free Press - Joe Bryksa)

Stolen golden eagle not worth $7M

Owner claims he was ambushed by two men, and had planned to sell the statue to raise money for breast cancer research

A diamond-studded golden eagle statue reported stolen in a violent robbery in 2016 is worth $930,450, not $7 million as its owner originally claimed, according to court documents.

Ron Shore’s company Forgotten Treasures International Inc. has filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court against several insurers for denying his claim over the theft of the eagle.

Shore made an emotional plea for the return of the statue at a news conference in June 2016. He told reporters he was in Delta, B.C., when two men ambushed him, hit him over the head with a large flashlight and stole the eagle, plus a less-valuable decoy.

At the time, he said the elaborate eight-kilogram sculpture had been appraised at $7 million and he planned to sell it to raise money for breast cancer research.

In the recently filed lawsuit, Shore says the appraised value of the eagle is $930,450.

When reached by phone Thursday, Shore said he could not comment on the discrepancy because of the ongoing police investigation into the theft.

“Everything can be explained in court and it’s a very simple situation,” he said. “I have been instructed by the police not to say anything. It’s all part of the investigation.”

Delta Police spokeswoman Cris Leykauf confirmed officers were still investigating the case.

In the statement of claim, Shore’s company says it operates an international treasure hunt to raise money for cancer research. The focus of the treasure hunt is the eagle sculpture, which is made of solid gold and encrusted with 763 diamonds, the company says.

At the end of the treasure hunt, Forgotten Treasures planned to sell the golden eagle in order to finance the final prize, with the remainder of the proceeds being donated to cancer research, the statement of claim says.

The court document describes the attack that Shore says he suffered. It says he took the eagle to an event to promote the treasure hunt, and as he was walking to his car, he was attacked, hit over the head and robbed.

Thieves snatched the golden eagle as well as a silver eagle worth approximately $175,000, the lawsuit says.

Shore chased one of the thieves and caught up with him when he got into a truck, the lawsuit says. He reached into the truck through the window and grabbed the robber, who dragged him for about 200 metres before running over his leg, it says.

The leg injury resulted in two surgeries and a year-long recovery, the statement of claim says.

It also says a witness called police and, despite Shore’s full co-operation with officers, the theft remains unsolved.

None of Shore’s allegations have been proven in court.

Two insurers named in the lawsuit — Endeavour Insurance Services Ltd. and Hub International Ltd. — did not immediately return requests for comment.

Another firm, Lloyd’s Underwriters, said it cannot comment on matters involving ongoing litigation.

No statement of defence has been filed.

The lawsuit says Shore immediately notified the insurers of the theft, but a claims adjuster “failed to examine the claim objectively, treating the denial of coverage as a foregone conclusion.”

At one point, the adjuster appeared to make an immediate settlement offer if Shore would take a lie detector test, the lawsuit says. Shore immediately agreed to take the test, but the adjuster revoked the offer, the lawsuit says.

The insurers formally denied coverage in October 2016, the lawsuit says.

Shore’s company is seeking $400,000 in compensation for the gold eagle and $53,750 for the silver eagle.

The Canadian Press

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