ATLANTA — A dive team dedicated to bringing closure to grieving families said they are devastated after thousands of dollars of equipment was stolen from their truck.
It happened in Downtown Atlanta while they were visiting the Georgia Aquarium. The theft will seriously impact the Chaos Divers' ability to help recover the bodies of people who have gone missing.
They're based in Illinois, but travel all over the country to help families find loved ones who’ve gone missing in bodies of water. The group was in town for a search in Columbus, Georgia -- but when it got rained out -- they decided to visit the aquarium.
"I put the boat all the way in the corner here, the glass right here is all over the ground," Chaos Dive Founder Jacob Grubbs described to 11Alive.
He said he thought their boat and truck would be safe in a surface lot on Marietta Street on Friday.
"We decided to park in this public lot, paid $20 to get in. Thought there was a guard, maybe there wasn't, but there was someone standing over there," he said.
He said they were gone for four hours; they visited the aquarium and got dinner. When they came back, their stuff was all over the ground.
"All of the sudden, it was like, your laptop is gone, my camera bag is gone," said Assistant Lindsay Bussick.
She said more than $13,000 worth of gear was taken, along with her registered gun.
"Camera equipment, audio equipment, the dive lights, so, now if he has to dive in the dark, there aren't lights any more," she said.
She said the worst part though, is the thief stole a hard drive with three months worth of their work on it. The Chaos Dive Team investigates cold cases and searches bodies of water where people have gone missing in their cars. Their Facebook and YouTube channel bring renewed interest in cases.
"The work we've done for families, we can't replicate that. This this a one shot type of thing. there's no retake, there's no redo, that initial raw emotion, you can't duplicate it," she said.
They conduct the searches free of charge for families by monetizing the content they put online. But, they said they can’t do the searches without their gear.
In the past five months, they’re recovered nine bodies for families.
"They said, 'I didn't think anybody cared anymore.' That hurt me, the stuff that we go through and we see. We are able to provide the families this service and put our families out there to help them," Grubbs said.
The team hopes someone comes forward to help them get their equipment back.