Chief Pilot Donald Garbade of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources provides air support for Law Enforcement Agencies all across South Carolina in his Cessna 206 Aircraft that is equipped with a LoJack Police Tracking Computer. Garbade and the South Carolina LoJack Law Enforcement Liaison are in constant communication keeping him abreast of LoJack activations across the state of South Carolina. When Garbade gets the information of active LoJack stolen vehicles and heavy equipment, he will schedule time from his other duties, and actively search. Garbade is a hard worker and is highly motivated to assist in the recovery of stolen vehicles and equipment. From March 2017 to January 2018, Chief Pilot Garbade has assisted in the recovery of 8 vehicles and heavy equipment with a total recovery value of $150,000, 1 arrest, and several pending investigations by the recovering agencies on the ground. In one specific case, in August 2017, Garbade began tracking a stolen Case backhoe that had been reported stolen to the Lexington County, SC, Sheriff’s Office. Garbade tracked the equipment to a wooded area approximately 15 miles from the site where the backhoe was stolen from. Garbade observed a suspect operating the backhoe and led ground units down a dirt road to a residence located in the woods. Lexington County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Investigators recovered the Case backhoe and discovered that the PIN plate had been removed. After further investigation, the suspect was charged with Possession of Stolen Property and Possession of a Vehicle with an altered\missing\or obliterated identification number.
Chief Pilot Garbade has been with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for 3 years and is an Air Force Veteran. While the recovery of stolen vehicles and heavy equipment is not typically a mission of the SCDNR, Garbade, has taken on this mission as an added duty. Chief Pilot Garbade is a dedicated Law Enforcement professional and provides a valuable service to the Law Enforcement Agencies and citizens of South Carolina.