A commemorative garden at the corner of Steveston's South Dyke Trail and No. 2 Road was recently robbed of many painted and polished stones that were placed in the memory of pets that have passed on.
The garden, dubbed the "Dog Gone" rock garden, had more than 90 painted rocks in memory of pets as well as some that were painted as a tribute to frontline workers for their work since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Richmond resident Doug Mitchell, who had set up the garden with his wife in August 2020, said it was heartbreaking to see the gaps in the rock collection on Saturday morning.
"The rocks that were taken were fairly artistic. Some have just dog names written on them," said Mitchell, adding that about 32 rocks were missing.
"It looks almost like it was a trophy thing because they've got the main rock that says 'Dog Gone Rock Park' so they've taken the best of that too."
Mitchell told the Richmond News he suspects the rocks were stolen on Friday night as he walks by the garden twice a day.
"You can't just put those (32) rocks in your pocket discreetly and walk away. You've got to bring somebody or something along to carry them all," he said.
Among the missing rocks were a couple of painted stones brought in by out-of-town visitors including a woman from Austin, Texas and another individual from northern Alberta.
While the rocks don't have financial value to them, Mitchell added, they represent the love of dog owners and the community.
"It means a lot to us and to the community at large."
Community members are encouraged to advise the individual, or people, who stole the stones to return them discreetly.
Mitchell is offering a reward for the return of the Dog Gone memorial rocks where they will donate $100 to feed street dogs and another $100 to the children's food bank.