‘Disappointing’: Nanaimo SAR loses $5K in equipment after overnight break-in


A Nanaimo Search and Rescue volunteer was scanning surveillance video Tuesday when he noticed a dark figure in the SAR compound at its Fourth Street headquarters.

“Right around 2:30 this morning, somebody scaled a fence into our compound,” said Nanaimo SAR‘s Grant Williamson.

“They clambered up a dumpster from an adjoining apartment building and they gained access to our two trailers and spent some time going through them and basically decided what they wanted to keep.”

The lone thief can be seen on surveillance video getting into one of the trailers by breaking the lock on the door.

Once inside, the person squeezed into the back of a side-by-side off-road rescue vehicle, which was loaded with gear ready for the next time it would be used.

Several minutes later, the person can be seen leaving the compound through another gate with thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

“So far, and we haven’t done a complete inventory, but we’re missing a chainsaw, an AED, several Milwaukee tools and batteries, an iPad and a Spot X satellite two-way communicator,” said Williamson.

The stolen items have a value of about $5,000, but what was taken means even more to this rescue operation.

“It’s very disappointing,” he said.

“You depend on these tools and this equipment to effectively do our job out in the woods to help people. Certainly, we have insurance coverage, but there’s always a deductible.”

He says the theft will have an impact on Nanaimo SAR’s budget even if it goes through insurance.

On Tuesday, Williamson purchased two new wheel boots for the trailers because of something else that was stolen.

“The ignition key for one of the off-road vehicles was taken, and based on that, we’re concerned they might try to come back,” he said.

The stolen Spot GPS spot device was tracked near Canadian Tire and Rutherford Road while CHEK was doing this interview.

Police were going to be notified.

The specific items stolen include:

  • an iPad;
  • a Spot X 2-way satellite communicator;
  • a Stihl MS171 18” chainsaw;
  • a Zoll AED SN: X16J872850;
  • a Milwaukee 2621-20 Sawzalll with SN: G09CD232111795;
  • a Milwaukee 2558-20 ratchet with SN: J20BH232900987;
  • a Milwaukee 48-11-1850 M18 batter with SN: G29NHTBC;
  • a Milwaukee 48-11-2430 MN12 Battery with SN: B32ADCFF;
  • a 19 mm combination wrench and 19mm swivel impact socket;
  • and one Polaris key.

Nanaimo SAR is asking for the public’s help.

Anyone who sees items that might be theirs or has information should message them on Facebook, Instagram or X, or call Nanaimo RCMP and reference file #24-6920.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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