FLORIDA — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has recovered an estimated $30,000 in stolen marine equipment on board a sailboat in Florida after the owner of the gear drove from Maryland to chase down the culprit, the FWC has announced.
According to the FWC, a Maryland boat owner boarded his boat at a marina in Maryland and immediately saw that a cockpit table, usually bolted to the floor, was gone. Other items were missing, too, including an anchor, bow thruster, underwater drone, and more, the FWC said. The FWC reported the value of the missing equipment was estimated at $30,000.
Walking down to an area of the marina where he said he had earlier seen a twin sailboat, the boat owner said the sailboat was gone, and on the dock, he found a pile of canvas and the cockpit table from his own boat.
The victim made a police report; then, suspecting the twin sailboat was heading south, he reportedly drove down the east coast. He stopped in Jupiter to look for the FWC office to report the crime in Florida and to ask for help locating the boat.
The victim spotted an FWC officer on the dock before getting to the office. To his shock, as he was explaining what happened and describing the 50’ sailboat to the officer, the very same vessel was reportedly sailing past them on the Intracoastal Waterway.
The suspect had a pretty good head start, but after tracking him on the busy waterway, the FWC said its officers were able to make contact with the individual and were given permission to board his vessel. Once aboard, officers said they were able to verify ownership using photos and serial numbers provided by the victim, and they confiscated the items.