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Fair warning to the thieves who stole John Pielechaty’s fibreglass DQ cone out of his Mississauga Valleys backyard — you messed with the wrong person.

Pielechaty is a retired RCMP detective — and he’s so hot under the collar with what went down, he’s on your trail.

“It ticks me off,” says Pielechaty, who spent 27 years with the RCMP before taking early retirement in 1987 with the rank of staff sergeant.  Pielechaty vows to do whatever it takes to get his cone back.

For the past month or so, his usually-quiet neighbourhood has been hit by a rash of pool hopping. Most of the homeowners have lived there for some 40 years, going back to a time when the area was primarily apple orchards. Normally, they would laugh off such incidents as just antics by spirited, perhaps inebriated, young people. But not this time — not when they made off with Pielechaty’s property, a six-foot tall ice cream cone he used for promotional purposes when he owned a Dairy Queen. The mascot came with holes for arms and legs.

“Stealing is a crime. I feel violated,” says Pielechaty, 72.

It started on Aug. 2 when Bob Smith, who lives behind the Pielechatys, found a large group of people frolicking in their adjoining pools (the two long-time neighbours share a gate).

“It was around 2:30 in the morning,” Smith recalls, “and all these young men and women — I guessed they were in their late teens and early 20s — were in the two pools and throwing stuff around. They were wearing only their underwear.”

They fled when Smith, a former captain with the Toronto fire department, appeared. Still very fit, Smith gave chase and managed to grab one of them. Two of his pals came along quietly.
By then Pielechaty and his wife, Anne, were roused.

“We weren’t asleep at the time, but with the TV and the air conditioning going, we didn’t hear a thing until one of our neighbours called,” says Anne.

Amazingly, the three partiers gave their names and addresses to Smith and Pielechaty.

Fast forward to Aug. 13, when past midnight Smith glanced out his front window and spied a young female standing below a street light.  “She looked like she was nude,” he says.  Sure enough, when he looked in his backyard, there were people in his pool, again.  “I went after them but I wasn’t going to catch a 20-year-old,” he says.

The final straw came Monday morning when Pielechaty discovered his front gate open — and his cone gone. Alerted by a neighbour, he found the bottom half up the street.  “They probably didn’t have room in the vehicle for the whole cone,” he surmises.

Pielechaty bought the cone when he owned a DQ franchise, first in Thorncliffe Park in Toronto and later in Mississauga, following his retirement from the Mounties. He kept the cone when he sold the business 10 years ago. He took it out of storage recently when he heard that an old DQ friend was opening an outlet in Fergus.

“I was planning to give it to him as a gift,” says Pielechaty. “I’d already given it a power wash and was just finishing a bit of painting around the eyes when the thing was stolen.

”Pielechaty reported the theft to police and later posted notices, complete with a picture of the stolen item, around the neighbourhood. He’s prepared to forgive and forget if the miscreants return the mascot. If not, he just might decide to do some sleuthing himself, drawing from his many years as a narcotics officer.

Courtesy of Joseph Chin, Mississauga News

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