Posted by Scott T. Smith
LAKE CLARK SHORES, FL (WFLX) - A rash of thefts is hitting boaters where it hurts and police are out to stop the thieves responsible.
Police say that in one week, at least 12 people have had boat propellers stolen. The thieves are preying on homeowners who have their boat sitting on a trailer parked next to their home.
Surveillance video taken by one of the victims shows two men in the middle of the night stealing a couple of boat propellers.
All the propellers that have been stolen are made of stainless steel, which police say cost about $350 to $500 new but can be re-sold on the street for about $150 each.
They say the crooks are very fast; they can remove a boat propeller from an outboard motor in about a minute and a half.
"We've been plagued with approximately 12 propeller thefts, and our residents are being victimized," said officer Carlos Negrin of the Lake Clarke Shores Police. "It's our responsibility; we have to catch these guys."
Police say the thieves may be getting around at night by boat, taking advantage of the town's numerous waterways.
One propeller dealer told us the stainless steel propellers are considered more valuable than aluminum ones, and those that are stolen may wind up in places such as Honduras or South America.
Police urge boaters to install prop locks to prevent such thefts.
If you have information that could help police, call Lake Clarke Shores Police at 561-964-1515.