Thieves have targeted another volunteer-run nonprofit in Nanaimo.
The victim this time is Royal Canadian Navy Search and Rescue Station 27 and they turn to the community to help them find the culprits and recover what was stolen.
“I was absolutely devastated,” said Debby Thomson, director of boating safety for RCM SAR Station 27.
The organization stored one of their trailers behind Nanaimo Fire Station # 2 on Labieux Road and on Wednesday they learned someone had broken into.
Ironically, I had just received a donation of life jackets and brought them back for winter storage and walked around in the back and found out that it smelled like urine and had been burgled. It was just awful, ”said Thomson.
They searched near the property and retrieved a duffel bag, but four other bags marked by the Coast Guard are missing, as well as PFDs marked like this one, a 55 inch LG TV, training materials and VHF radios.
“Gear that doesn’t have a lot of value for someone who doesn’t do the kinds of things we do on the water,” said Thomson.
The thieves even took the body of their beloved mascot, Rescue Bear.
“Why does anyone need a large woolen suit?” Thomson said.
Police suspect the theft took place between Sunday and Wednesday.
“It would take a lot of people a long time to take this stuff and take it out. The chain link fence was cut and probably within two days they took these materials, ”said Cst. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
Thomson estimates that replacing anything that was stolen would cost as much as $ 20,000.
“If you see any boating safety equipment that is in an area it doesn’t belong to, please let us know,” said Thomson.
“This is a non-profit organization. They do a fantastic job keeping people safe. They save lives, so we need the public to help us get things back, ”said O’Brien.
RCM SAR volunteers at Station 27 are already raising money for other initiatives and equipment, so Thomson says it’s deflating to have to replace things that were theirs but were stolen.
The Boys and Girls Club in central Vancouver Island is one of the nonprofits affected by thieves in Nanaimo.