MORGANTON, N.C. (WBTV) - Morganton Public Safety officers have charged a man with felony larceny after more than $30,000 worth of equipment was stolen from the Burke County Search & Rescue Team last Friday night.
Christopher Otstott was arrested Thursday afternoon just down the road from the Rescue Squad. A second man took off into some woods and has not been found yet.
Otstott was questioned, then charged and arrested.
Not long after the arrest, one of the ATV’s was found in a muddy, wooded area of McDowell County.
Several gauges and other items, including the battery, had been stripped from the vehicle. Authorities are looking for the 2nd ATV in the same area.
Rescue squad officials fear the ATV cannot be fixed without a major expense.”
Rescue Squad Battalion Chief Wes Taylor says the thieves appeared to know what they were looking for when several transport trailers at the Burke County Rescue Squad on St. Mary’s Church Road were broken into.
Two ATVs, a generator, radios, helmets and more were taken. It’s all equipment that is desperately needed by the search teams.
“Last year we conducted 119 search and rescues in Burke County,” he said.
Replacing the equipment will not be easy, or cheap, he says.
For now, the team is depending on other rescue squads and fire stations to fill in the gaps with equipment.
Taylor hopes authorities will be able to track down the rest of the stolen equipment as well as the second suspect in the case.