100 Mile RCMP say they are “zooming in” on a suspect involved in the theft of a first responder truck stolen Friday night from an Interlakes Volunteer Fire Department Hall.
The truck, a new white F150 equipped with tools, medical supplies and emergency lights, was taken after someone broke into Hall 3 – in Bridge Lake on Highway 24 by Lee Road. Fire Chief Todd Schley said he was notified of the theft just before 7 a.m. Saturday.
The truck was found Sunday morning. There was no major damage to the vehicle but all the tools and medical equipment – including a spineboard, “clamshell” and basket stretchers and pylons for traffic control – were missing. The truck and equipment together were worth between $80,000 and $90,000.
“Sadly it was stripped off a lot of the equipment,” 100 Mile RCMP Sgt. Brad McKinnon said. “They basically picked all the goodies out of it. There were a lot of tools and equipment in the vehicle that can be used for various applications. We think that was the target.”
The theft came less than a week after a brand new emergency response truck, along with life-saving hydraulic tools used at accident scenes, was stolen April 3 from the Central Cariboo Search and Rescue (CCSAR) hall on Mackenzie Avenue in Williams Lake. That truck was recovered by the Alexis Creek RCMP after a tip from the public but some of the specialized tools are still missing, including a Holmatro Combi tool, hydrolic ram, and hoses and pumps.
McKinnon said the Interlakes truck is undergoing a forensic audit and he expects it will help them close in on a suspect.
Meanwhile, Schley said he plans to have discussions with the Cariboo Regional District on what measures they can take to prevent a similar situation from happening.
The truck, designed as a first responder medical unit, was only about two years old and is an integral part of the fleet, as it allows firefighters to access tight lanes for calls. “We do a lot of medical calls,” Schley said. “That truck is used really frequently.”