'It's disheartening': $11K worth of gear stolen from search and rescue crew in B.C. Interior

A search and rescue group in B.C.'s Interior is asking the public to keep an eye out for several pieces of equipment that were recently stolen from them.

Quesnel Search and Rescue shared news of the theft on its social media accounts on Thursday, along with photos of some of the gear that was taken and a surveillance image of a suspect. 

Bob Zimmerman, president of the Quesnel Search and Rescue Society, told CTV News Vancouver the stolen items include two rope rescue kits, three bags of rope and six portable radios with backup batteries for each one.

"It's over $11,000 in value, so it's going to have an effect on us for replacing it all," Zimmerman said. "We do have insurance. I have not spoken to the insurance company yet."

He said he hopes members of the public will contact Quesnel RCMP if they see any of the items, all of which are specialized equipment for search and rescue teams and not especially useful to the general public.

"It's disheartening to see someone that's willing to do such a thing against a non-profit society that's here to help the public," Zimmerman said.

The theft won't stop Quesnel Search and Rescue from responding to calls, but it could limit the number of teams the society can send into the field, according to Zimmerman. That, in turn, could endanger the lives of people who need help.

Like many search and rescue organizations in the Lower Mainland, Quesnel Search and Rescue has had a busy year, Zimmerman said.

"So far this year, we've had 12 callouts, which I know may sound low to some large communities," he said.

In addition to asking the public to be on the lookout for the missing gear, Zimmerman is calling on the thief to do the right thing and return it.

"It's very frustrating to me that someone would even contemplate doing that," he said. "They're not thinking about society at all, only about themselves."