Nanaimo Mounties have a man in custody believed to be responsible for several motor vehicle thefts in recent months.
Pierre Gino Guidotti, 37, was arrested Friday at his north Nanaimo home for allegedly stealing a Ford F350 from a Nanaimo residence on June 11.
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said Guidotti arrived in Nanaimo in May and could be responsible for thefts of at least five Ford F-350 trucks, plus other thefts in Parksville, Qualicum and Port Alberni.
One of the stolen trucks belonged KGC Fire Rescue Inc., which is the province’s largest supplier of hydraulic rescue equipment, such as the Jaws of Life, used by fire departments and other emergency response agencies.
The 2003 Ford F-350 stolen June 11 contained expensive hydraulic tools – including a Jaws of Life ram and combination tool – training tools and replacement parts.
Fortunately, police recovered the truck and returned it to its owners June 16. Some hydraulic tools missing when the truck was recovered were eventually found by police and given back to KGC Monday.
Allan Tonn, company salesman, service technician and trainer, said having tools designed to take cars apart are not good things to have in the hands of criminals.
“The biggest concern for us was loss of time and parts,” Tonn said. “It’s just a major inconvenience. We’re really happy that the equipment’s back.”
He said customers around B.C. need replacement parts quickly when tools wear or break down.
Tonn is also a search manager with Nanaimo Search and Rescue. His 24-hour survival pack, containing expensive communication equipment and survival gear, were also in the truck when it was stolen. Those items were recovered as well.
“I just breathed a sigh of relief that I got it all back,” Tonn said.
O’Brien said some of the hydraulic rescue equipment not recovered with the truck was found in the possession of a local drug addict who was sympathetic to the value of the life-saving equipment and turned over the items without incident.
Guidotti remains in custody while police investigate a number of other offences.
O’Brien said investigators from Oceanside and Port Alberni detachments will hopefully be in a position to recommend other theft-related charges against Guidotti at a later date.