Thieves swipe timber frames from farm near Wakefield, Quebec


by Trevor Greenway on November 25, 2010

Chainsaw wielding thieves made away with five timber frames from this Brennan's Hill barn.

Chainsaw wielding thieves made away with five timber frames from this Brennan's Hill barn.

Carolyn Raab and Devin Brennan of Chelsea, Quebec recently lost some of their future home to thieves. The  theft wasn’t the usual kind, where victims lose a TV, the sound system or a box of jewelry. Instead, the couple are missing a significant part of a barn.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Brennan, when he arrived at his Brennan’s Hill farm Nov. 7 to find someone wielding a chainsaw had made off with five timber frames from one of the old outbuildings on the property.

“I walked around surprised. It’s part of our future home,” he said.

Brennan and his wife, who reside in Chelsea, bought the farm in June and planned to build a house on the 200-acre property within the next couple of years. Their plans included using parts of the barn timbers in their new home. Now they’re out an estimated $2,000 in materials.

It’s believed the timber thieves did their work sometime between Oct. 14 and Nov. 7,  sawing through the 50-year-old barn, cutting it up to facilitate stealing five 24-foot-long timber frames.

Brennan thinks whoever stole the material wasn’t sure to whom the property belonged, as his family farm sits adjacent to it. He feels that since he is a “local guy,” the thieves wouldn’t be known to him.

“It’s sad that someone would do this,” said Brennan.

The loss of the valuable timber is one thing, he said, but the feeling of having a stranger rummage through your property is quite another.

“It’s more of a violation,” he said.

The damaged barn, which lost some structural strength in the theft, needed to be propped up to prevent its toppling over. It will have to be taken down.

Timber frames appeal to some in the construction industry, as the massive pieces can be used over and over in different houses. Local timber-framer Lester Perrault said that he receives calls from people with materials for sale. He said he hadn’t received any calls as of late.

“That is lame,” Perrault said of the incident, adding that he knows Brennan and confirming the estimated value of the lost timber.

“There is some sketchy stuff up the line,” he said, referring to places like Low and Kazabazua.

Anyone with information on the timber theft is asked to contact the MRC des Collines Police at 819-459-2422.