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Search and rescue truck, tools stolen from Williams Lake

Residents asked to report any sightings of the unique emergency response truck
A Central Cariboo Search and Rescue truck was stolen overnight April 3 from inside the SAR team’s hall in Williams Lake. Pictured above, CCSAR members drove the new truck in a salute to health care workers past Cariboo Memorial Hospital in September 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

A brand new emergency response truck worth almost $200,000 as well as life-saving hydraulic tools used at accident scenes - including the jaws of life - are still missing after thieves broken into the Central Cariboo Search and Rescue (CCSAR) hall on Mackenzie Avenue in Williams Lake over the weekend.

Sunday morning, April 3, Williams Lake RCMP issued a call for members of the public to keep an eye out for the distinctive vehicle, with the B.C. license plate of RH7960.

“This emergency vehicle represents a significant investment in the safety of the community,” said RCMP Cpl. Shane Nicoll, Williams Lake RCMP. “We are asking that everyone look out for the search and rescue truck and, if seen, report it to police immediately.”

CCSAR Chief Rick White of the Central Cariboo Search and Rescue (CCSAR) expressed feeling angry and shocked over the crime and the loss.

“I couldn’t believe that someone would do that,” said White on Sunday morning (April 3). “Who would take life-saving tools. I just can’t comprehend what they’ve done to the community.”

White said a CCSAR member was headed home from working a night shift at the local mill at about 7 a.m. Sunday and noticed the bay door open and the new truck missing from the CCSAR hall on MacKenzie Avenue in Williams Lake.

The truck is a distinctive, fire engine red-coloured 2021 Dodge Ram 5500 rescue truck recently purchased for CCSAR valued at approximately $190,000. Hydraulic extrication tools and other tools and items taken along with the truck and from another truck parked at the hall are estimated to be worth another $200,000.

“We have the bare minimum tools now - just enough for one accident scene.”

As everyone started hearing the news Sunday morning, White said the Horsefly Volunteer Fire Department offered CCSARS the use of their tools as needed.

“That is so awesome of them.”

White said it is believed the culprit or culprits smashed a window at about 1 a.m. to gain access to the rescue hall.

The new truck was something CCSAR had been saving and planning for, for a long time and replaced the crew’s 20-year-old response truck.

RCMP noted if anyone locates the vehicle to not approach it and instead call 911 or the Williams Lake RCMP at (250) 392-6211. Alternatively, should you wish to remain anonymous, you can report the location of the truck to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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