Heroic Salesman Helps Nab Truck Thief

By Michael Laine

LANGLEY, B.C. — In a night he won’t soon forget, Mike DeSmet, a salesman of On-Highway Trucks at Finning Canada, was able to track down a stolen truck that happened to be one of the first tractor models he ever sold.

The story begins on Thursday May 9th, when a royal blue 2010 ProStar was stolen from the Harbour International dealership in Langley B.C.

The next day, the British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA) sent out a notice reporting the theft on their Stolen-Equipment Email List on behalf of Harbour International. Harbour International is an associate member of BCTA and the Stolen-Equipment Email List is a free service that the BCTA offers members. Louise Yako, BCTA President and Executive Director, described it as “not being a list, but more of a distribution method where if a member reports stolen equipment, they inform us and we broadcast it to members and law enforcement.”

The Canadian Association of Fleet Supervisors (CAFS) was notified of the stolen vehicle by the BCTA stolen-equipment service. Mike DeSmet, a member of CAFS received this notification. DeSmet had previously worked at the Harbour Idealease dealership for two years and remembered selling that same tractor.

On Monday May 13th, around 7:00 p.m., DeSmet spotted the stolen Prostar, which still had dealer plates on it. By this time, it was hauling an assumed stolen B-Train of lumber.

“I called a friend of mine from Harbour International and asked him if they were still looking for that truck,” DeSmet explained. Sure enough they were, and DeSmet began following the stolen Prostar.

The thief, realizing quickly that DeSmet was not out for just a drive, quickly pulled over. DeSmet enthusiastically described the chase: “He fled on foot and then hopped into a Ford Explorer that was tailing him and the two took off. I followed them until I saw an RCMP car in the other lane and waved him down to follow the car.”

After the RCMP officer tracked down the car, the royal blue Tractor was found in good shape though it was a bit damaged. The lumber was returned to Abbotsford, and according to DeSmet, the thief, as well as several other men, have been apprehended.

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