By Joel Hillan

CENTRAL CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – With active wildfires burning in parts of Colorado, the Gilpin County Animal Response Team gathered Tuesday night to make sure they had everything they need in case of an fire. When they came to their trailer, they opened it up and found half of the items missing.

“It just stuns me that somebody would do that up here in this community, other places you expect it, but not here,” said Vicki Nemec, GCART Coordinator.

CBS4’s Joel Hillan interviews Vicki Nemec. (credit: CBS)

The last time Nemec and her team had used the equipment was for the Cold Springs Fire two years ago.

“Boulder (County) was on fire and it was coming towards the northern part of Gilpin County so they were evacuating a lot of animals up there; so, we had 165 animals here.”

The trailer had been out and unlocked for a short period of time after the fire. That’s when they think it happened.

The thieves made off with large cages, bowls and leashes.

“It wasn’t a huge theft, it’s probably $1,500 to $2,000, but losing those big cages and all of that stuff is going to hurt.”

(credit: GCART)

They have since promised to always lock up, and have even changed the locks, just in case.

Kyle Benedict, Director of Parks and Recreation for Gilpin County says they are seeing quite a bit of vandalism across the county.

“Trail signs being torn down, trail signs being spray painted, graffitied, written on, marked up, trails being completely torn up.”

The County Board of Commissioners is putting together a plan to increase security surveillance across the county, but for Vicki, it’s personal.

(credit: CBS)

“It hurts. This used to be a community where you could trust, you didn’t have to lock your doors, but that’s not the case anymore.”

The nonprofit High Country Auxiliary has already promised to replace all of that stolen equipment. If you would like to learn more about them you can visit their website.

For more information on GCART, you can visit their website.

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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