The owner of a decades-old neon sign says it was almost like part of family before it was stolen last month off the front of his family business in a Manitoba village.
"It's been on the building longer than I've been around," said Don Stevens, owner of Stevens Lumber Company in Fannystelle, Man., about 50 kilometres west of Winnipeg.
Manitoba RCMP are investigating the theft of a neon sign, which Stevens said was put onto the building in the early 1950s when the business was owned by his grandfather.
Stevens Lumber Company was opened in 1903 by Stevens's great-grandfather, he said. The family has operated the business in the village ever since.
"It's part of the history of the town," Stevens said of the sign. "There's really no businesses left in town. We're kind of the last one, other than the grain elevator and the post office. It's kind of a representation of what used to be."
RCMP say the sign — which is over one and a half metres tall — was removed from the second floor of the Stevens Lumber building on Jan. 7.
Stevens said he was shocked when he went outside early that morning and saw the sign was missing. He said he saw bits of neon tube on the ground, suggesting whoever stole it may have also damaged it.
"It's not a good feeling. In other words, they had no respect for the value or the history of the sign," Stevens said.
Investigators say the suspects likely used a bucket truck and power tools to remove the sign in the early hours of the morning.
Sgt. Paul Manaigre says the sign has been in the Stevens family for 67 years and is considered priceless to them.He says RCMP have exhausted all investigative steps and are asking for public assistance.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Carman RCMP or Crimestoppers.