A young gold panner by the name of Daylin Cooper has experienced a devastating loss. His panning equipment, which he kept hidden on the site of his claim in the Sombrio area, has disappeared.
Stolen were his good dredge, a Honda 4 horsepower, a wetsuit, gloves, boots, masks, pry bars, gas can, the hoses for the dredge, and the nozzle.
The dredge was about four feet long, three feet wide, and would have required several people to move.
“All they left was a camo tarp, a empty tub and a few tools,” he reported. “Me and my uncle drove out to the gold claim Friday morning to find all the equipment gone.”
On Friday afternoon, he and his mother reported the theft to the Sooke RCMP.
What makes the loss especially devastating is that Cooper is only 16 years old. He worked a number of odd jobs over the past two years to accumulate the equipment.
“Everything I have earned has gone into my gold claim and mining equipment,” said Cooper.
His passion for gold started when he was a young 13 year old, living by the North Saskachewan River.
“My mom banned me from video games,” Cooper noted. “Out of boredom I borrowed a gold pan and went to the river and panned, and when I saw the gold I was hooked.”
He and his mother moved to Sooke about a year after that, and he eventually earned enough to purchase a claim at Sombrio along with the required panning equipment.
“I did paper routes, mowing lawns, worked teaching computer skills to the elderly. Jobs that didn’t interfere with school.”
A new dredge alone, costs about $2,500 and the claim cost $1,500.
Cooper is a student at Edward Milne community school and in February this year, he was one of 11 EMCS students selected to attend the TEAC 105 course at Camosun College in September. According to the Camosun website, TEAC 105 is a dual-credit course that “provides current high school students with an introduction to careers and basic skills in Computer Science, Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology, Civil Engineering Technology, and Mechanical Engineering Technology. “
For now, he is hoping that his gold panning equipment re-appears.
“Gold isn’t just a hobby,” Cooper sums up, “it’s a passion.”
If you have any information about the missing articles, contact the Sooke RCMP at 250-642-5241.