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Rescue volunteers hampered by thieves

September 11, 2012

LISBON - A volunteer group which locally uses its time and efforts to help others found its efforts hampered recently by thieves.

The U.S. Search, Rescue and Recovery Corps had some of its items stored at a one-acre site and portable enclosure located near Lusk Lock Road and state Route 154. Sometime over Labor Day weekend, the group lost about $6,000 worth of equipment when someone broke into the back of the facility.

Ron Wisbith, regional director of SARR, said Sunday that after discovering the thefts and checking the area, they believe people on ATVs came into the site from the backside using the railroad tracks off Lusk Lock Road. Members of the team followed the tracks, locating some items which had been dropped and others which had been stashed along the railroad tracks.

"They just went through the place and left it a mess," Wisbith said.

And even though some items were found, there is still a list of items which have not been recovered. Some of those were new Miller plasma cutters, Mikita electric drills, welding torches, hoses and related welding items, SK socket sets and an electronic sound collecting device. Additionally, the thieves took a pneumatic hammer, pneumatic drill, carpenter tools, heavy duty wrench set and numerous other tools.

A reward is being offered for any information leading to the recovery of the stolen items and conviction of the person committing the theft. Confidential tips can be left at 412-303-5650.

Although other SARR units have had items taken in the past, Wisbith said this was the largest loss of property. The items taken were used primarily to repair or modify equipment the group uses in its efforts.

"These people are pretty brazen," Wisbith said, adding a man lives just across the street but they managed to sneak onto the property without anyone noticing.

Besides helping local law enforcement search for missing people, Wisbith said the organization is involved in the Child Abduction Response Teams regionally and is training to assist in looking back at cold cases for missing people who were never located. The organization was formally known as Rescue 40.



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