Who would steal firefighting equipment?
That’s the question police in Oliver, B.C., were pondering after recovering some firefighting equipment that was stolen earlier this week.
According to the RCMP, a trailer that the Willowbrook Volunteer Fire Department uses was broken into overnight Tuesday, with some essential equipment being pilfered.
Police say items stolen included two Honda pumps, each valued at $800, and a Waterax Mark 3 water pump, valued at $8,500.
The trailer was used to protect Willowbrook and neighbouring communities from the Upper Park Rill wildfire, which is still burning.
The stolen items were reported Wednesday morning, with police receiving several tips from the public.
“A frontline officer conducted a traffic stop on Road 15, which led them to the stolen pumps, clearly marked ‘WVFD,’” Oliver RCMP said.
Police say a 55-year-old Oliver resident was arrested and is set to appear in Penticton provincial court on Dec. 13.
“The person that was arrested was not a suspect in the actual theft. They have been charged with possession of stolen property over $5,000,” said the RCMP.
“This is a great result to be able to recover these important tools for the fire department,” said Sgt. Don Wrigglesworth, detachment commander, who also thanked the public for sending in tips.
“This volunteer group would have been greatly affected by this loss in being able to provide the level of service and safety to the community.
“Some people have zero moral compass or conscience, especially to commit such an act during our active fire season.”
On its Facebook page, the Willowbrook Volunteer Fire Department thanked the RCMP for finding the pumps.
“Local RCMP worked incredibly hard and were able to recover all three pumps!” said the fire department.
“There was a specially equipped toolbox for the pumps, worth $1,000 which was not recovered, and the trailer will still need the locks replaced after they were drilled out, but the pump values were far more important.
“A huge thank you from the WVFD to the RCMP for a job very well done!”