A man who pleaded guilty to stealing a valuable sculpture from an Abbotsford school has been sentenced to a nine-month conditional sentence and nine months of probation.
Wayne Harold Ervin, 59, was sentenced Wednesday (June 24) in Abbotsford provincial court to a charge of theft over $5,000.
A conditional sentence means that he will not serve any jail time but must abide by certain conditions.
Ervin was charged last September after a one-of-a-kind sculpture of Chief Dan George – valued at $8,000 – made by artist Gerald Sandau of Chilliwack was found to have gone missing from Chief Dan George Middle School.
The art piece had been commissioned by Fraser River Lodge in Agassiz, which in turn donated the piece to the Abbotsford school in 2017.
Sandau noticed that the sculpture was missing from its display case when he visited the school on June 26 of last year.
He was then told that the sculpture had been moved into storage because the multi-purpose room close to where it was being displayed was undergoing renovations.
But a search of the school, storage and school grounds after Sandau questioned its disappearance failed to turn up the piece. School officials filed a police report on July 4.
Following news reports on the matter, including pictures of the missing sculpture, a man reported on social media that he had seen the item in the Mission City Pawn Shop.
Police went to the location and retrieved the piece.
The owner of the pawn shop later told the Abbotsford News that he had purchased the item a year earlier – on July 20, 2018 – for $1,000.
He said he had no idea the artwork was stolen.
The Abbotsford News has never been able to confirm whether Ervin worked for the school district and, if so, what disciplinary action had been taken against him. A school district spokesperson previously said that the district does not comment on personnel matters.
– with files from Patrick Penner