Logging equipment stolen from local operations

Merritt-based company targeted in series of recent thefts

A processor head was taken off a 320 CAT processor at a logging operation near Hicks Lake on March 14.

A processor head was taken off a 320 CAT processor at a logging operation near Hicks Lake on March 14.

Hope RCMP is looking for the public’s help in solving a series of logging equipment thefts in the area.

The first incident occurred in the early morning hours of Jan. 20, where 3,500 liters of diesel fuel and ignition keys were stolen from four separate pieces of logging equipment parked near Sunshine Valley. Since the area where the equipment was parked is remote and not easily accessible, police believe that the thief, or thieves, may have had specific knowledge of this operation.

On March 13, there were three more thefts from logging operations. The first occurred at two locations in Yale, American Creek and Albert Road. The third occurred at Hicks Lake, north of Agassiz. At all three locations about 500 liters of diesel fuel and 20 Motorola radios were removed from parked equipment.  The radios can be identified by serial numbers which have been entered into the police database.

On March 14, thieves returned to Hicks Lake and stole a piece of machinery known as a processor head. This piece of logging machinery picks up harvested trees, removes the limbs and cuts the tree into logs for transport.The stolen processor head is described as a black and red Waratah 622B, which is currently valued at $250,000 (when new the machinery cost $998,000). The processor head, which was taken off a 320 CAT processor, is readily identifiable by a serial number which has been entered into the police database.

During the weekend of March 15-16, thieves then attended the logging operation on Nickel Mine Forest Service road off the Coquihalla Highway and stole 2,000 liters of fuel. As well, the onsite ambulance was broken into and two radios (each $500), several fire extinguishers, an assortment of tools and wrench sets, and a door to a skidder were taken.

Investigators believe that, because the stolen items are specific to the logging industry, they are likely of use only to another logging company.

“The thieves likely had knowledge of the logging industry to commit these thefts of such specialized equipment,” said Cpl. Len vanNieuwenhuizen. “These thefts have targeted a specific company and are affecting the livelihood and the economic well being of their employees and the community they live in.”

The company targeted in all these incidents is based out of Merritt.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Hope RCMP at 604-869-7750 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).