Michaels: Cheerful story of a stolen Kelowna truck

Interviewing a crime victim has never before brought a smile to my face.

Not even when they're terribly unsympathetic characters and I'm in the throes of a good bout of schadenfreude.

But Wyn Lewis, the owner of Vibrant Vine, is about as cheerful as any victim is going to get and I was grinning like the village idiot when he regaled me with his tale of woe.

Vibey, he explained, was stolen by a few people who Darwin wouldn't have held out much hope for.

"Obviously somebody stole a vehicle, and that's always bad news, but of all the vehicles on the planet to be stolen, you wouldn't think it would be that one," he said.

It's one flamboyant Suzuki. A wee little truck decked out in decals matching the wild bottles of Vibrant Vine.

So, it's visible.

It's also a bit more of a mascot than a functional truck.

Used only to traverse the space between the winery and the warehouse, Vibey would have had a slim chance of a great escape, let alone a potential police chase.

Complicating matters for the crooks was the fact that there was only a litre of gas in its tiny tank, so a stop at a camera laden post at a gas station would have been required for a real run for the border.

"So we knew it was going to end up somewhere on the side of the road, and we did find it up Highway 33 near Gaudy Road," he said.

"But it was such a comedy. Even when they drove away with Vibey, they embarked on a journey through the orchards of East Kelowna, dodging trees, knocking over branches…  and in the back of the truck, there were lots of beautiful apples," said Lewis.

During Vibey's weeklong hiatus, Lewis said that he was inundated with calls from people who thought they saw the truck, or just wanted to wish them well. .

So all in all it's a happy ending  to a story filled with mirth, community spirit and in the not-too-distant future, a party.

All of which Lewis is grateful for.

"You know what I just did, I walked into the tasting room and there were 30 to 40 people there, and I said, 'Is anyone here following the story of Vibey? Well, we found Vibey."

Then, in celebration, he gave them a half-price deal on all the wine they were buying.

"That got a big cheer … and I think I lost a lot of money here," he said.

If only all crime stories could be so cheerful.

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