Jarrett Fitzpatrick was driving home to Ashcroft, B.C., late Saturday night when something caught his eye.
In front of the Cariboo Jade and Gift Shoppe in Cache Creek, a truck pulling a flat-deck trailer with an excavator in it was out front.
“I’ve lived here my whole life,” Fitzpatrick said. “I knew that was out of place.”
Fitzpatrick knew very well that the shop is home to a massive slab of jade weighing 2,850 pounds — or about 1,300 kilograms — which thousands of people photograph each year as they pass through town, about 55 kilometres west of Kamloops.
The truck was parked right in front of it. But the jade slab was no longer there.
The driver of the truck took off as soon as he noticed someone watching him, Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick decided to follow the truck and call 911. When he got police on the line, they told him to stop following the truck.
Just as he was pulling into a rest area to turn around, Fitzpatrick says, someone ran onto the highway and threw a large rock at his vehicle.
“Then I was like, hey, I’m going home,” he said.
‘Part of the family’
Heidi Roy works at the Cariboo Jade and Gift shop. Roy says she heard the jade slab had been stolen shortly after it happened Saturday night.
Her parents and uncle have owned the shop since 1985, the same year they bought the slab of jade in Lillooet, B.C. Since then, it has withstood wildfires, floods and evacuations.
“To us, it’s like part of the family,” she said, adding the piece is a memorial of sorts to her father, who died in 2015.
Jade is the official gemstone of B.C. This slab was originally from the Dease Lake area, in B.C.’s Northern Interior, a few hours south of the Yukon border.
Roy thinks it may have been eyed recently because of the real-life TV series, Jade Fever, which features large pieces of jade worth millions of dollars.
Bad luck for thieves
The slab in front of her store may be large, but it’s of a low-grade and so it isn’t worth much — especially if it were to be chopped up into smaller pieces.
“It’s just a glamorized doorstop,” she said.
Roy hopes the jade slab will be recovered, of course. But if it’s not, she hopes the curse of the jade comes true for the thief.
Jade brings good luck, good fortune and good health if it’s given as a gift, Roy says, but if it’s stolen the opposite is true and the thief becomes jinxed.
“The only way to relieve yourself of this is to give it back,” she said.