This story first appeared in Coast Mountain Culture‘s Home Issue, Summer 2013.

When Squamish-based photographer Dave Humphreys had his office broken into and $50,000 of gear stolen, he vowed to get it back. Of course no one really believed he would do it. In the robbery, an expensive fleet of professional cameras, lenses and computers were taken along with his ice- and rock-climbing gear, including Humphreys’ impressive racks of hardware. Furious, Humphreys took to Facebook to express his rage. “My Irish blood is not making this easy to deal with,” posted Humphreys. “May the karma of this asshole meet my wrath sooner rather than later.” And then, the statement no one took seriously: “I will find this person.”

After dealing with six different RCMP officers, Humphreys was still at a loss. “They didn’t find one item,” recalls Humphreys.“All they could say was ‘You’ll never see your stuff again.’” While friends rallied together to help replace the expensive outdoor gear, Humphreys decided he would not—could not allow the guilty offenders to get away with it. “To be completely honest,” says a guilty-looking Humphreys, “I rolled around town with a drug dealer and a baseball bat. When these douchebags realized I wasn’t going to give up, things started to appear.” Relieved of the tools and toys he uses to live a life in the mountains, the normally peaceful and friendly Humphreys was transformed into a vigilante crusader, even managing to get pepper-sprayed while dredging up his goods.

“Several days and many dealings with the underbelly of this small but sketchy town,” posted Humphreys a week later, “I have been true to my word. I got most of my stuff back.” Discovered on rooftops, the back room of a tile shop, an apartment, on a person, and in a storage locker, the crowning achievement came when Humphreys found his camera gear in a bag stashed in an electrical room. Ninety percent of his stolen goods was recovered. It’s a credit to the power of passion and an unceasing dedication to the truth, but Humphreys is quick to point out that anger is not a way of life he subscribes to.

“I’m more focused on getting back to positive, happy living,” says Humphreys. “I’m still missing a brand new iPad, portaledge and some very nice ski and snowboard gear. I really don’t want to thrive on negativity, but it sure was a bit of a ride.” – Mike Berard