U.P. group in shock after thousands of dollars stolen

U.P. group in shock after thousands of dollars stolen

IRON MOUNTAIN — An Upper Peninsula group is still in shock tonight, just days after thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was stolen. While police work the case, the organization is gearing up for its biggest annual fundraiser.

“This Buckmasters Banquet is so important to me personally as well as all of our committee members.”

Rich Mortl enjoys the outdoors. Mortl, the owner of Mortl’s Sport Center,  president of Buckmasters  for the last 12 years.  The Buckmasters Banquet is this coming Tuesday, Oct. 6. Right now, they’re currently missing more than $14,000 in items; compound bows, crossbows, hunting gear, and more that were recently stolen from a storage facility in Iron Mountain.

“Everything from hunting knives, scopes, laser finders, range finders, spotting scopes… the list goes on and on,” said Mortl.

The Iron Mountain Police Department is investigating the theft. Det. Lt. David Irwin is spearheading the investigation.

“Right now our investigation is kind of at a standstill,” said Irwin. “We’ve got some theories we’ve developed, but we are in great need of some information from the public. I think that’s how this crime is going to get solved.”

Despite the recent loss in merchandise, Mortl and others involved with Buckmasters say the banquet will go on as planned.

“When people see that something like this has happened and where all of the money is raised goes towards to, they’ve been a huge help to us,” said Mortl.

Money raised at the banquet goes towards taking disabled children and wounded warriors on hunting trips.

“All of these hunts are done at Superior Game Ranch,” said Mortl. “Jeff and Reba DeBaker have been great to us and that’s where all of our hunts are done.”

Buckmasters is offering a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for taking the items.

“The individual or individuals that did this, if they’re seeing this message, call somebody and get this stuff back to us,” said Mortl. “You don’t understand what you’ve done. We feed the hungry and we take a wounded soldier who fought for our freedom and we take a disabled youth (on hunts). It’s changing their lives.”

“At this point even if you don’t think that something is significant, it may be a part of the puzzle that we need to fit something together,” said Irwin.

The Buckmaster Banquet is Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 5 p.m.