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Mounted animals stolen from office
True North Safaris loses guns, taxidermied wolves, and bear rugs in daytime theft

Candace Thomson
Northern News Services
Published Friday, May 24, 2013

A business in Kam Lake lost nearly a dozen one-of-a-kind collector's items in a theft that occurred in broad daylight while the owners were away.

NNSL photo/graphic

True North Safaris president Gary Jaeb, seen here in his business with granddaughter Zoe in 2011, says nearly $50,000 in collectables were stolen from the business on Tuesday. - NNSL file photo

True North Safaris president Gary Jaeb confirmed that four life-sized mounted animals were stolen Tuesday, including two wolves, a wolverine and a lynx. An eight-foot polar bear rug and six-foot black bear rug were also stolen, along with a wall-mounted sheep shoulder and a gun safe containing three antique guns - one of which was an 1891 long-barrel rifle.

Jaeb said the items were in his office as prized collector's items and were not for sale. He said the polar bear rug alone could sell for as much as $50,000. Altogether, the items were valued at between $30,000 and $50,000. He said the company's insurance will cover less than half the value of the stolen goods.

Jaeb estimated the theft happened between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday morning while he and his family were attending their niece's wedding in Red Deer, Alta. Jaeb's son's girlfriend, who was checking up on the business for them, was away between those hours and reported the theft to police when she returned to find the items missing.

Jaeb told Yellowknifer he believes the thieves knew the building well and had a buyer arranged outside of the territory before the theft took place.

"Many people in Yellowknife know our business and know the items that were stolen," Jaeb said. "So I don't think they were going to try and sell them within the territory."

RCMP Sgt. Brad Kaeding said police believe this to be a targeted theft.

"People don't necessarily randomly take taxidermy items," he said. "We're not ruling out that people knew what was in the house."

Jaeb said a friend noticed two men standing in the yard in front of the business Tuesday morning but thought nothing of it as it was broad daylight.

Due to the bulk of the life-sized animals and heavy rugs, Jaeb believes the thieves had a van or a trailer to help them make off with the goods.

Kaeding said the Yellowknife RCMP's forensics department has taken over the case and the investigation on the culprits is ongoing. He said there are no suspects at this time.

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