Nfld. & Labrador

Stolen weather station saga ends with sunny skies, thanks to strangers' donations

With the money raised, Kelly Butt was also able to buy a few enhancements for his new weather station — including a new security system.

'It restores my faith in humanity,' says Kelly Butt

Kelly Butt's weather station was stolen straight out of his backyard. But thanks to a fundraising effort from the public, he was able to replace all the stolen gear. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Nearly one month after his weather station was stolen out of his backyard in St. John's, Kelly Butt can get back to doing what he enjoys most, thanks to the kindness — and cash — of strangers.

In September, the volunteer weather-watcher discovered the station had vanished, with little left but a set of tire tracks indicating someone had made off with the device. The $2,000 station was brand new, and with tools that measure UV index, dew point, and atmospheric pressure, it was the most state-of-the-art station he had ever owned.

"It was pretty gutting," Butt said Wednesday.

"When I saw that it was gone, I was pretty upset, not going to lie. It was pretty upsetting to see that it was gone."

After word got out of Butt's stolen station, Jennifer Waye started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a replacement — despite never having met Butt in person.

"It's just so discouraging," Waye said of the theft at the time. "These guys provide the weather for us.… They're providing us with a valuable service."

In the weeks that followed, the campaign raised $2,500, and Butt was able to purchase a new, fully equipped weather station. He said he was overwhelmed by the support from the public, especially in a time as difficult as a pandemic.

"It restores my faith in humanity," Butt said. "It's heartwarming, it was awesome to see."

Butt says everything has been running perfectly since his new weather station was set up. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

New security system

Most of all, Butt was grateful to the stranger made it all happen.

"[A] huge thank-you goes out to Jennifer … along with a number of people," he said.

"Some of the folks I know, some of them I don't, who donated to that cause, along with the people [who gave] countless numbers of shares on social media."

With the money raised, Butt was able to buy a few more enhancements for his new weather station — including a new security system to bolt the station down.

"I also bought some security cameras placed around the yard here," he said.

"They'll detect any motion, they have alarms, sensor lights, that sort of thing on it. So if anyone comes in here, I'm going to know."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Jeremy Eaton and Malone Mullin


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