GF Search and Rescue left incommunicado after theft

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
July 19th, 2013

The Grand Forks Search and Rescue team has been left with limited resources after a thief made off with 12 radios, their batteries and six tracking units.

“It’s the most important stuff,” said Barry Savitskoff, GFSAR search manager, on the importance of the equipment.

The equipment is used to communicate to their command centre when the volunteers are in the field — a critical part of what they do.

Now, they are left with their hands tired until the equipment is replaced.

“We are kinda stuck,” saidd Savitskoff, adding that some of the volunteers have personal gear they will be using until they are set up again.

Someone has already come forward and donated a GPS system to help keep the team on their feet.

Donations are something the non-profit organization is always happy to accept, especially now that they are so short on equipment.

The volunteers are going to meet this weekend to determine what the next step is and how to replace the equipment.


The theft happened sometime between February and early July, which was the time frame between their two last calls. The volunteers went to gather their gear only to find it missing.

There was no sign of forced entry and it’s unknown when the equipment went missing.

According to Staff Sgt. Jim Harrison, the longer the equipment is missing, the less change there is of finding it. However, they have put the information into their system, so if it is found they will get it back to the search and rescue team.

“I really believe it has been taken outside of the community and sold,” said Harrison, adding it’s not very easy to sell. “It’s a specific-use item.”

The equipment is valued between $6,500 and $7,000.

Categories: General