Kathleen Metcalfe didn’t hold out much hope after several items – some of them sentimental – were stolen from the family residence five years ago.
After the home was broken into a second time in the summer of 2014, and more valuables were stolen from her and other residents in the North Toronto neighbourhood, Toronto Police launched Project Yellowbird.
Among the stolen property was a yellow Porsche Carrera, hence the project name.
A total of nine people, including three women, were arrested and charged with various offences and police recovered almost 4,000 pieces of stolen property which was in their possession.
Following an investigation launched in December 2013, the Service – for the first time ever – set up a website to reunite owners with their property.
Metcalfe could hardly believe it when she spotted the Memberof the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal presented to her late father Peter Williamson for his sterling military service in Cuba during World War Two.
“He was the head of the British Legion there and he was well-liked,” said Metcalfe who was reunited with the medal three days before Remembrance Day.
Williamson died on November 11 – Remembrance Day -- in 1977.
Metcalfe also got back some costume jewels and Bravery Beads.
In 2002, the Hospital for Sick Children started the Bravery Beads program to bring together patients and families to celebrate their strength and bravery. A string of beads represents a child’s unique and special journey through difficult treatments such as chemotherapy, blood work and surgery.
“These are replicas of the beads the children get and I am happy that the police were able to recover them along with medals which hold sentimental value,” added Metcalfe.
The Metcalfe’s home was broken into a second time while they are at their cottage. The family car was also stolen from the driveway.
“I didn’t think I would see the vehicle again, but the police assured me I would and they were right,” said Robert Metcalfe. “I would like to thank Toronto Police for the very professional way in which they handled our case. They came in quickly, they were very calm and they did what they had to do. We, in Canada, are very lucky to have such an efficient and effective police service.”
Acting Superintendent Reuben Stroble met the Metcalfes at 53 Division on November 8 and reassured them that Toronto Police is committed to providing high-quality customer service.
“For us, getting back your property and returning it you is a priority for us,” he said. “Your privacy was violated when those people illegally entered your home and the loss was hard.”
Project Yellowbird involved 32, 53 and 22 Division officers along with other law enforcement agencies in Canada and around the world. They included York, Niagara and Halton Regional Police Services, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the United States Department of Homeland Security and Interpol.