Red Deer historian and author Michael Dawe is offering a $500 reward for the return of an unfinished manuscript about local entrepreneurs and philanthropists Jack and Joan Donald.
Dawe, who is also a Red Deer city councillor, said the information was stolen while his truck was parked for about an hour at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre at Red Deer College at around 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
A black, soft-sided laptop case, and a black and brown cloth windbreaker jacket were taken from the vehicle.
The case did not contain a laptop, but inside there were USB computer sticks, research, a note pad and a book Dawe is writing about Jack and Joan Donald.
“The big thing is the manuscript of the book. I had emailed some of it to people for review, but the bulk of the manuscript is gone now,” said Dawe about the book he has researched and worked on for three years.
“It’s been disheartening.”
Dawe was working at the RDC library and hid his bag beneath the jacket in the truck before attending an event at the Harris centre.
A computer stick in the bag had copies of articles that Dawe wrote weekly over the past 21 years for the Red Deer Advocate and the Red Deer Express.
He said for half his career, he has regularly written articles for the local newspapers, and he was still using them as reference material. Only some of the stolen articles can be recovered through other means.
“That’s a lot to lose. I can reconstruct some of it, but there’s a bunch I can’t. There’s gaps.”
Campus security was contacted and the area was searched, with no results. A few pieces of mail in the bag identify Dawe as the owner.
Reward posters, with a phone number, were also distributed to local drop-in centres.
Dawe said he originally issued a $200 reward for the return of the contents of his bag. Now, the reward is more than $500, because people in the community offered to help when they found out what was stolen.
“It’s really very humbling. I haven’t been soliciting. These are people that have just stepped forward.”