Local store owner Kathleen Booth is feeling incredibly grateful to local eight-year old boy Gage Pootlass for finding and returning one of the missing masks that was stolen from her business, Wild Craft Art Store, several weeks ago on July 6.
“On July 25, 2020 Gage Pootlass walked into the Wild Craft Art Store holding on of the missing mouse masks that had been carved by Noel Pootlass,” Booth said. “Gage had spotted something out of the ordinary along the side of the road off Highway 20, as he and three his friends were out riding their bikes on this nice day. He investigated and discovered a mask. Right away he recognized it as one of the missing masks that had vanished during a recent robbery.”
Without hesitation he walked it down to the store where employee Trinity Mack was on shift. She promptly contacted Booth, who was in disbelief.
“I called her and said ‘there are four boys here with one of the masks, they say they found it on the side of the road,’” Mack said. “I was shocked.”
Booth was very surprised at the excellent condition of the mask, and Gage quickly led out of the store to show her where he had found it.
The mask had been abandoned in the wooded area not far from the store. It was wrapped up with a large piece of material which had also taken during the break-in, which was probably what protected it from the elements. Also in the area were a mix of items, mostly papers. The police were called and within minutes an officer was on the scene.
Booth walked with the boys back to the Art Store and presented Gage with a special gift for his honorable return of the items; his friends were also presented with a small gift in appreciation of their goodwill.
“He was out biking to play the Facebook game called Bella Coola, Where is Santa?,’” explained his mom Christine Sampson. “That’s when he found the mask. Since he heard about the break-in he knew what he had to do and he returned it back right away. He was sure proud to bring it in to Kathleen.”
There are still items missing and Booth can only assume that the items where discarded along the highway in the same manner. The public is asked to keep an eye out and contact the RCMP or Booth if anything else is located.