Olds RCMP were called to the scene on the morning of Jan. 31, where a break-in took place sometime between Jan. 29 and 31.
No suspects have been identified.
“The scene was examined by the forensic identification section out of Red Deer,” said Olds RCMP Staff. Sgt. Jim MacDonald. “Evidence was identified and collected for further examination.”
Suspects appeared to have gained entry through a back door at the museum, said RCMP.
Police said display casings were damaged and several antique items were stolen, including Second World War memorabilia, a unique bayonet, coins, several long guns and jewelry.
“They’ve stolen (military) medals, some currency that we had, they stole the Eastern Stars pins and broaches and they smashed some of the display glass to get (at items),” said Bonny Burton, board member with the museum. “They even stole guns and the gun safe.”
The museum has been a part of Bowden since 1966 and has several exhibits showcasing a variety of artifacts from the 19th and 20th centuries, including items from the military, the railway, Bowden’s former schoolhouse, the chamber of commerce and the Bowden hardware store, among other displays.
“It’s the first time the museum has been broken into,” said Burton. “Whoever did it knew where the stuff was. They could have been here on a tour one day looking around the museum,” she added. Burton said there was no other damage to other parts of the building or displays.
Items stolen are estimated to be worth in the thousands of dollars, confirmed Burton. “They are irreplaceable,” she said.
She said the museum currently has no alarm system but she expects the board will discuss the possibility of increasing security measures.
“I’m sure they will talk about it,” she said.
“They won’t be able to get in now because we have a bar, a plate that goes across the door,” explained Burton. “We got that done the same day we were broken into.”
Bowden mayor Robb Stuart was made aware of the break-in at the museum last week but did not know details.
“I know that we seem to have daily criminal activity in town and we are working with the RCMP and our citizens to remedy the situation,” he said via email.
Burton said members of the museum will no doubt keep a closer eye on things from now on.
“We’ll be watching,” Burton concluded.
With files from Doug Collie
Bonny Burton, board member with the Bowden Pioneer Museum
“They’ve stolen (military) medals, some currency that we had, they stole the Eastern Stars pins and broaches and they smashed some of the display glass to get (at items). They even stole guns and the gun safe.”