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Thieves rip off kids' quake kit

Parents will now have to fundraise to replace equipment

Contents of an emergency kiosk were stolen from Gilmore Elementary School on Aug. 29, leaving staff and students without supplies in the event of an earthquake.

"My first reaction was this impacts the safety of our children, and my second reaction was that parents worked so hard to raise the money," said Gilmore principal Sheilagh Pace. "They took basically everything except for the expired water and the ladder."

The school has lost emergency equipment, including tents, first-aid supplies, tarps, flashlights, blankets, food and tools. Pace estimates the kit's contents were valued at about $3,000. Parents raised the money to put the supplies together, and the idea was the kiosk could also help the neighbouring community in the event of a major earthquake. Pace reported the incident to police but hasn't heard of any


The supplies were contained in a large, metal, padlocked bin at the back of the school's field so if the building collapsed, the kiosk would not be buried in rubble. Gilmore is currently undergoing upgrades so the building can better withstand an earthquake. The theft apparently happened over-night and was discovered by a school custodian the next day.

Pace said there's an upcoming parent advisory council meeting, where they'll have to break the news to parents. Pace is also considering moving the kiosk closer to the school and putting an alarm on it.

Parent Brandon Raines was very disappointed about the theft.

"It's a lot of money gone, and we're not going to be able to recover," Raines said. "We'll have to do a bunch of fundraising in the school to replace it, which takes away from the kids."

The school's kiosk has been broken into before, and police recovered a crowbar from the earthquake kit from a break-and-enter in Abbotsford.