(Update: Adding video, details, comments from theft victim)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office says seven cases of stolen fishing gear have been reported in the past two weeks and is urging those hitting the high lakes to be cautious so they don't join the list of victims.
KJ Risdal said Monday he was camping at Crane Prairie last Thursday when about $15,000 worth of fishing gear was stolen from the back of his truck.
Six fly rods, the reels that go with them and 15 fly boxes with about 5,000 trout flies were among the items taken.
Risdal says in the 17 years that he’s been fishing in Central Oregon, none of his items have ever been stolen or messed with.
“I think maybe they saw us pulling it all out of my boat at the boat launch, because I left my boat in the water overnight. I took everything out of the boat, because it wasn’t close by, and then we just threw it all in here,” Risdal said.
Risadal says he had backed his truck up against the camper he was staying in. His truck was about eight feet away from the camper when the items were taken.
The stolen gear incidents took place at Crane Prairie Reservoir and the Gull Point Campground at Wickiup Reservoir.
“As long as people are out camping and fishing and they leave their equipment out unattended, there are people who will take advantage of it,” said sheriff's Sgt. Jayson Janes.
Risdal says he had sentimental attachments to many of the items that were taken.
“You know, I have memories with people that have passed on, my dad, are associated with a lot of those flies and the places where we fished at. So yeah, that part of it is what really hurt, the flies,” said Risdal.
Risdal is offering a $2,500 reward for the return of his items.
Janes also encourages the public to share any information on the stolen items.
“If you’re aware of where this property may be going or who may be responsible for taking it, please let us know, because we would like to return the property back to these people,” Janes said.