San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Crime Beat

Bandits steal monitoring equipment from Turrialba Volcano

Let’s hope nothing serious happens on the west side of the very active Turrialba Volcano in the next few days. The Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) reported on its Facebook page Wednesday that bandits made off with several pieces of equipment from a GPS monitoring site in La Picada, an area that was previously evacuated on the western side of Turrialba Volcano.

The remote location of the unguarded equipment has vulcanologists concerned about their ability to effectively monitor the volcano during a period of high activity.

OVSICORI vulcanologist Francisco Pacheco told the daily La Nación that there are only two National Park guards stationed in the area and they cannot be expected to guard such a vast area.

The scientific organization said its sensors are often left unprotected.

OVSICORI listed a car battery, solar panel, Trimble NetR9 Global Navigation Satellite System, and a Pelican brand case among the stolen items.

Pacheco told the daily La Nación that the specialized equipment was worthless for resell or even scrap.

“Thieves are stealing very important equipment, and if we don’t have these tools, who’s going to send alerts from the volcano?” Pacecho asked.

OVSICORI filed a report with the Judicial Investigation Police. Readers with any information about the missing equipment should contact (506) 2562-4001.

Turrialba Voclano has been active for several months and has erupted several times this week. On Monday afternoon, the colossus sent a tower of ash more than a mile high, forcing officials to temporarily close Juan Santamaría International Airport.

See the volcano’s latest ash eruption on May 6 at the 2:27 mark:

Contact Zach Dyer at zdyer@ticotimes.net

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