Ski-trail volunteer's spirit crushed by theft

publié le 25 janv. 2009 à 11:40 par Benoit Fontaine   [ mis à jour le·25 janv. 2009 à 11:43 par Admin Skinouk ]

'You can't believe how I feel,' Frank Roscoe said after he learned a new snowmobile had been stolen from his driveway, Tony Lofaro writes.

The Ottawa Citizen January 13, 2009
NO HAPPY TRAILS: The 2009 Skidoo that was stolen from Frank Roscoe was donated through a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and is worth about $14,200.

NO HAPPY TRAILS: The 2009 Skidoo that was stolen from Frank Roscoe was donated through a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and is worth about $14,200.

Photograph by: Bruno Schlumberger, The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Citizen

The theft of a new snowmobile and cross-country ski trail equipment from a east-end home Sunday has crushed a community volunteer's spirit.

"You can't believe how I feel," said Frank Roscoe yesterday, talking about the 2009 Skidoo that was stolen from his Chapel Hill home.

The snowmobile, trailer and ski groomer were padlocked and parked in the driveway of his home, he said. But after he left the house around 3 p.m., someone carted off the snowmobile. His wife, Ann, was home, but did not see anything suspicious.

The snowmobile in question was not a pleasure vehicle. Mr. Roscoe is a tireless volunteer for the Orléans Nordic Ski Club. The 59-year-old retired Parks Canada employee has been setting cross-country ski trails on NCC property at Mer Bleu on Anderson Road, Pine Grove Forest in the Leitrim Road area and the Hornet's Nest north of Blackburn Hamlet for more than 20 years.

The 2009 Skidoo was donated through a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and is worth about $14,200, he said. The new machine replaces a 1993 snowmobile that he had using for almost 13 years.

The theft was reported to Ottawa police who are still investigating the incident, he said.

"The snowmobile just had 200 kilometres on it, we just got it," said Mr. Roscoe.

"I do this because I love winter and I would like other people to love winter. And one of the ways is to get outside. We do this grooming and track setting (of ski trails) to encourage people to go skiing and get some physical exercise."

He said he hasn't been able to sleep well since the Sunday robbery. He's since prepared pamphlets describing the snowmobile and distributed them in the hope someone may have witnessed the crime and will come forward with information.

He's also alerted the Ontario Snowmobile Federation and the three Ottawa-area snowmobile dealers about the robbery.

"Things have gone so well in our season and we had got this new machine only a month ago," said Mr. Roscoe, who often grooms the cross-country ski trails several times a week.

The Orléans Nordic Ski Club has about 100 members and potentially thousands of other people could be using the cross-country trails at any given time, he said.

"I was beside myself when I came home and saw the snowmobile missing," said Mr. Roscoe. "I've been doing this for 20 years and I really believe in what we're doing. When you see people out skiing in the cold, fresh winter, getting good exercise and enjoying themselves I say, wow, it's worth it."

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, Lanark County OPP arrested a 31-year-old McNab Township man following a breakin and theft last week of a snowmobile at Valley Small Engine in Mississippi Mills Township.

Police said a person broke into a fenced area of the business and tried to steal a snowmobile. That first attempt was unsuccessful, but the determined thief successfully started another machine, a 2003 Arctic Cat Pantera, police said.

The person left the premises of the business on the snowmobile, but got stuck in snow, according to police. The person then returned to the business and took another snowmobile, a 2005 Arctic Cat T 600 Turbo, before heading west on Highway 7, police said.

A witness started to follow the snowmobile and told police of his location, OPP said. The person allegedly ditched the snowmobile at Tatlock and Wolf Grove roads and fled on foot through a field.

Lanark County OPP and Emergency Response Team members followed the person for several kilometres through fields, bush and swamp. Shortly after 4:15 a.m., officers arrested a man they said was trying to hide behind a cabin on MacIntosh Way.

Terrence Shane McLaren faces a variety of charges, including breaking and entering, driving while prohibited, failing to comply with a recognizance and breach of probation.

With files from Neco Cockburn

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