VICTORIA -- Comox Valley RCMP say a painting that has been missing for years was retrieved while they were searching a home for an unrelated robbery investigation.

Mounties say they were investigating the property after a masked man allegedly robbed a business in the 2700-block of Cliffe Avenue on Aug. 16.

At the time, the man showed an employee what appeared to be a firearm and demanded cash from a register.

He was then spotted fleeing the area through an alley behind the business. Despite searching the area and using police dogs at the time, Mounties were unable to find the man.

Now, police say the suspect for the robbery has been arrested, partly thanks to tips from the public. Community tips helped police identify the man and track down his residence.

“As the investigation moved forward, a search warrant was executed at a house in Comox,” said Const. Monika Terragni, Comox Valley RCMP, in a release Friday.

“While investigators were searching for evidence pertaining to the robbery, a painting stolen back in 2018 was discovered,” she said.

The painting, which was first stolen in October 2018, was described as highly sentimental to its owner by police when the theft first occurred.

Mounties say the painting has since been returned to its owner, who was “thrilled” to get it back.

Edmond Patterson, 48, is now facing charges of robbery, robbery with an imitation firearm, disguise with intent to commit an offence, breach of probation and breach of a release order.