AMHERST, N.S. – Colin Smith was on the verge of crying Tuesday morning, and for good reason.
If it wasn’t for some good people on Facebook, the Amherst RCMP and Halifax Regional Police, the father of four would still be on the hunt for his stolen Hummer.
“Thank you is all I can say,” said Smith, who lives in Amherst. “It’s unbelievable the amount of support from the community, social media, RCMP and police. I mean, I could cry.”
Those would be tears of joy — because he reunited with his 2006 Hummer on Monday in Halifax, capping a wild goose chase that began Saturday morning when Smith noticed his beloved gas guzzler was nowhere to be seen.
“I woke up in the morning and went outside and had my regular cigarette. I looked down on the ground, looked over to my side and looked back at my driveway again and I was like, ‘That’s not good.’ I noticed my Hummer missing.”
At first, he figured it might be a prank played by buddies. A couple of calls quelled that suspicion. He had left the keys in the vehicle and reality set in.
The Hummer was stolen. Panic ensued.
Smith took to social media immediately, posting pleas for help on every relevant Facebook page he could think of, from swap-and-sells to the Nova Scotia Jeep Club.
The tips started rolling in, non-stop. Meanwhile, he couldn’t eat. Smith was running entirely on coffee.
“It was unbelievable. I was getting photos sent to me, someone told me my Hummer passed them on the highway going 140 kilometres per hour. I got pictures of other Hummers that were close but I knew they weren’t mine. Another one was of my rig at the Oxford gas station. They did a gas-and-go there. They were coming in from Pictou County, Truro, Shubenacadie, Elmsdale and Halifax.”
Smith’s prayers were answered early Monday morning. A man belonging to the Nova Scotia Jeep Club page on Facebook spotted the Hummer near Spring Garden Road. The man could see it from his home and he immediately notified Smith.
“He sent me an email asking if my Hummer was still missing. He said, ‘I think I just found it.’ Literally, wherever he was in his apartment or his house, he looked right down on the Hummer, right in front of him. I said, ‘Call the police.’”
Armed with a spare key, he hightailed it to Halifax with a buddy. Two police officers, one undercover, were waiting for him. Apart from a few missing items, CDs and his three-year-old’s car seat, it was in perfect shape.
After police dusted the vehicle for fingerprints, Smith was on his way. The police have yet to make an arrest in the case, and Smith plans to have the vehicle’s ignition replaced, just to be on the safe side.
Smith understands the bad rap Hummer owners get but he insists it’s been a great vehicle to him and his family of six.
“You take your kids everywhere in it. You have memories in it. I’ve tried to look after it. But it is a gas guzzler, 400 kilometres to a tank. I was like, there’s no way buddy’s paying for the fuel.
“After it was stolen one of my kids said, ‘You know what the worst thing is? We had some really good CDs in that Hummer.’”
In the end, Smith is grateful to so many for going beyond the call of duty.
“Ecstatic, overwhelmed. You get a story to tell. The kids will remember it. Everyone will remember it. Everyone got together and helped a guy, a family, out.”