North Shore Rescue caches robbed 4th time

For the fourth time in two weeks someone has robbed a valuable cache of North Shore Rescue gear in the backcountry north of Vancouver.

$40,000 in search and rescue gear has been stolen in past two weeks

A volunteer with the North Shore Rescue team repacks the looted Hanes Valley Cache. (North Shore Rescue)

For the fourth time in two weeks someone has robbed a valuable cache of North Shore Rescue gear in the backcountry north of Vancouver.

In the latest incident, sometime between July 12 and 15, the cache near the remote Norvan Falls was hit for the second time.

The first robbery was discovered June 26, and the volunteer rescue service had not even been able to restock it before it was hit again.

A frustrated Mike Danks can't understand the motivation behind the senseless thefts.

"I don't see this being a rational person," says the NSR team leader

The team says at least $40,000 worth of search and rescue equipment has been taken in the incidents. In one instance a chainsaw from a cache was used to destroy a wooden helicopter pad at the site.

He's asking the public to keep an eye on online classifieds for anyone trying to sell a suspicious amount of climbing, camping or survival gear.

"The amount of rope that's been taken is well over a 1,000 or 1,500 feet of rope, I don't see any value in that to anyone else. And to sell it? People would never purchase a rope they don't know the history of," says Danks.

Locks to be upgraded

North Shore Rescue maintains seven of the strategically-placed caches in the remote backcountry north of Vancouver as relay and supply points to support its volunteers during search and rescue operations.

Danks says it's important the team volunteers continue to have access to the gear.        

"There's no question we will continue with this cache program. It's saved many lives."

They say the caches were designed so that hikers in desperate need of survival equipment could smash off the locks with a rock, but the locks will now be upgraded to ensure only the rescue team members can access the gear.

"We need to fly locksmiths in to modify the locks to withstand the abuse of someone trying to break into them."

North Vancouver RCMP is assisting with the investigation. Anyone with information on the thefts is asked to contact the police at 604-985-1311.

Callers can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

With files from Luke Brocki


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