Theft after a night’s rescue

Theft after a night’s rescue

Search team member has her purse stolen.

Members of Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue were kept busy on the water Sunday and Monday, and for their efforts, one of them was the victim of theft.

The search team was called around 10:30 p.m. Sunday to retrieve six people whose boat had lost power on Pitt Lake.

Rick Laing of RMSR said conflicting information about the location of the stranded boaters delayed their rescue.

“Once we got that sorted out, it was fairly quick going out, locating them and towing them back.”

On Monday, RMSR responded to a call on Alouette Lake just after sunset, dealing with an overdue swimmer who had not returned to shore.

Laing said two men headed out to cross Alouette Lake at 6:30 p.m., each on an inflatable pool chairs. One of the men turned back about halfway across the lake, while the other continued on, said Laing.

“He had actually made it to the other side and had located a jacket and some shoes and actually an air horn that he used to help signal,” said Laing. “It was a very good ending. The best possible ending for that kind of search.”

However, the search team advises that inflatable chairs, air mattresses and such are not suitable flotation devices for large bodies of water and swimming alone over such distances is not safe.

Upon returning from Pitt Lake to the search and rescue headquarters on 105th Avenue in Maple Ridge, by Planet Ice and the Albion Fairgrounds, Laing’s wife had her purse stolen.

It contained credit cards, cash, a cell phone and small camera.

As the search team group returned to their headquarters around 2:30 a.m. Monday, Barbara Laing left her purse on the floor of her car, then headed back to move a boat and truck.

She had left the car unlocked for about 30 seconds when a man stole her purse.

“I think it was pure happenstance,” Rick Laing said. “He happened to be there when we came by, saw an opportunity, took it, and was gone.”

Laing was not surprised by the theft, but disappointing.

“It’s such a relatively common occurrence in today’s society that people can’t leave doors unlocked, can’t leave stuff around. You know, everything has to be locked up and put away right away. There’s just an element of society that likes to prey on people and take things that aren’t theirs.”

It’s not the first incident of this nature. Members of the Mission volunteer fire department were robbed a month ago, shortly after they were out on an emergency call. The thief stole a number of the firefighters’ wallets and personal items.