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‘Humanity wins’: support takes edge off for B.C. chef robbed of prize knives

Stolen Chilliwack sous-chef’s bag contained tools obtained over years of work
The back entrance of District 1881 restaurant The Offy where Koehler’s bag was stolen by a man on a bike following his shift on Sunday, May 26 (Stefan Luciani/Chilliwack Progress)

A B.C. sous-chef is down his tools-of-trade following a theft in Chilliwack’s District 1881 neighbourhood last weekend.

Brad Koehler placed his bag on the ground beside him while waiting for a ride after his shift at the downtown restaurant The Offy on Sunday (May 26). Shortly after doing so, he turned to converse with a co-worker when two men riding bikes streaked by with one of them grabbing the bag.

Koehler, with no means of pursuing the perpetrators, could only watch as the men fled toward Princess Avenue.

The stolen items consisted of a black Craftsman tool bag that was full of various types of chef’s knives as well as some tools. The contents are said to be of great monetary and sentimental value with many of them being gifts and specialty pieces.

“He personally had handcrafted the wooden knife cases for them all,” said Koehler’s fiancé Kristi MacFarlane. ”Needless to say, we are devastated.”

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News of the theft spread quickly around Chilliwack and beyond, with The Offy’s manager starting a GoFundMe page in hopes of helping with the costs of replacing the items. A chef in Harrison Hot Springs was even willing to help with the cause, offering Koehler a set of his own knives with plans to deliver them sometime Thursday.

The gestures have left both Koehler and MacFarlane grateful for the efforts.

“This whole time I have had a very strong feeling that the bag would either be returned or humanity would bless Brad in some way,” said MacFarlane. “Brad and I are so appreciative of this generosity and this is a clear reminder that humanity wins!”

If found, the couple is asking for the bag to be returned to The Offy or the Chilliwack RCMP no questions asked. Koehler’s GoFundMe page has received plenty of support, amassing almost $700 by Thursday morning (May 30). Those who want to donate can do so directly by searching ‘Replace Brad’s Knives!!’ on the website

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Stefan Luciani

About the Author: Stefan Luciani

Before joining the team here at the Chilliwack Progress in spring 2024, I was a story editor for TSN in Toronto and digital journalist.
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