The Terrace Drag Racing Association (TDRA) had at least $7,000 worth of equipment stolen earlier this month.
TDRA stores most of its items inside a fenced-off area within the Northwest Regional Airport lands during the offseason. On May 4, volunteers preparing for this year’s start grew concerned when they noticed their two 5,000-watt generators were missing.
“We couldn’t find either, then it spiralled from there,” says Jeremy McBride, TDRA president.
They realized the door to their ‘tower’ was left open, a pick-up truck where TDRA keeps their time recorders, computers and other equipment. A few other vehicles on the site had also been rummaged through, McBride says.
Along with the generators, three solar panels, four heavy batteries and a portable air compressor were stolen. The theft is believed to have occurred sometime between 3:30 a.m. on May 1 and the evening of May 4.
There were no cut locks and relatively little damage done, though the thieves did gain access to the area.
“We found the trail they came in on, we found papers out of the solar panel boxes, floor panel boxes, miscellaneous stuff that was just thrown behind,” McBride says. “The generators are pretty big generators — you’re not going to carry that out by yourself.”
TDRA needs around $10,00 just to get their season going each year, but now those funds will have to be used to replace some of the equipment they lost.
“It’s really hard. Its expensive equipment…we have to fundraise to pay our bills, we have to pay every weekend to race up there. It takes a lot of money to get going,” he says. “We’re basically starting from scratch.”
The association has reported the theft to police, but because of the lengthy time frame, McBride was told finding evidence could be difficult.
“I went through a home invasion when I was a teenager and it’s a terrible feeling. It felt like that all over again.”
Airport manager Carman Hendry says the airport tower does monitor the area 24/7 with perimeter checks and frequent security upgrades.
“The people that did this, they should be ashamed of themselves. [TDRA] is a non-profit, they’re out there to benefit the community,” he says.
TDRA says this is the first theft they’ve had in the last 20 years at the location. Most of their equipment was kept behind closed doors but unlocked, McBride says.
“It’s been an eye-opening experience for us.”
Despite these setbacks a month before their season starts, McBride says the community has stepped up to make sure TDRA is still ready to race from June 7-9.
People have offered to replace some of their stolen equipment, though TDRA still needs to do a full inventory to figure out exactly what was taken. Later on, they discovered their first aid kits, oxygen tanks, and tents were also stolen. All their remaining equipment has since been moved from the site until TDRA’s first race day.
“If we just rolled over and died, they win. But we’ll continue on,” he says. “The racing community as a whole, especially in northwest B.C…Everybody has stepped up.”
At the end of this season nothing of value will be left up at the airport, McBride says, and TDRA will be taking steps to make sure their equipment is secure for future years.
To donate to TDRA, contact president Jeremy McBride directly.