Police investigate boat engine thefts - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Police investigate boat engine thefts

STUART, FL (WFLX) - Boating is a way of life for many on the Treasure Coast, but avid boater Kathy Hawk is high and dry. She says thieves stole her two Yamaha boat engines from River Forest Storage in Stuart one month ago.

"You feel violated. You feel angry. You feel sad," she said.
Hawk, an insurance agent by trade, does have insurance on her boat. She says the claim for her stolen property is more than $34,000. 
Karl Harriger, who owns Above & Beyond Marine, is refitting Hawk's boat. He says he's working on two other boats that have stolen motors.
"I don't know what they're getting for the motors, but a new motor is anywhere between $12,000 and $13,000," Harriger said.
Martin County Sheriff's Office reports show about 10 motors, three boats and expensive electronics have been stolen since April 22. The work keeps marine shops busy.

"If a thief wants it, unfortunately, they're going to take it," said Harriger. "There's nothing you can do about it. They do their best. We put locks on. They make special locks for the bolts that hold the motors on, and we've been installing a lot of those lately."
The thefts and few security options have boat owners worried. Boats targeted by thieves have been dumped around the county - one in a neighborhood. Another outside a store. In addition to River Forest Storage, investigative reports say MarineMax, J. Pinder Boat Storage, Marine Parts Outlet and Continental Shelf Associates have been targeted.
Also, Jupiter Police are reporting four boat engine burglaries in the past month.
"I would starve before I would do what these people are doing," said Hawk, who also noted the thefts bump everyone's insurance rates up. "All of us are going to pay higher premiums because people's boats and motors are being stolen. It's going to affect everybody," she said.
Among the unanswered questions: Is this a series of random thefts? Might there be a boat theft ring at work? Lots of questions without answers. The Martin County Sheriff's Office is investigating but not commenting on the case.


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