Before Elsa’s impacts, crooks decided to escape with expensive equipment from private boats to a Southwest Florida marina.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a recent major theft at Viage Marina on Bayshore in East Naples, where the owner reported about $ 50,000 of GPS equipment stolen from 25 private boats.
According to the report, between Monday evening and Tuesday morning, unknown thieves were accused of drilling two separate holes in the marina’s fences – damage estimated at $ 2,000 – and of stealing equipment from the boats.
The marina owner believes Garmin GPS devices were targeted because, when employees checked the total of 55 boats in storage, only the 25 Garmin-branded devices had been vandalized and the devices stolen.
“That’s a lot, you know, 25 boats,” Jeffery Martinez said.
Martinez is storing his boat at the marina, and his was among those vandalized before the storm.
“There’s a lot of value in these boats, you know, boating is extremely expensive and the equipment is extremely expensive,” Martinez said. “Mine were [$3,000 to $4,000] each of them, and I lost three … They also cracked my consoles. They took a crowbar to finish the consoles.
MEPs say they have identified 18 of the 25 boat owners. Local boaters we spoke to said boat thefts happen all the time.
“It happens to my boat,” said George Buonocore. “I’ve often had things stolen from my boat.
“There seems to be a trend with these types of thefts,” Martinez said. “It’s not the first. It’s happening statewide.
Boat owners help each other find the culprits.
“I would look for Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, anywhere, pawn shops,” Buoncore said. “If you’re going to steal boat stuff, the only way to get rid of it is to sell it to a store that will resell it. This is probably where they all go.
Some boat owners, including Martinez, are now offering a $ 1,000 reward to anyone who might have more information.
As MPs investigate the surveillance video, the marina owner told us he called other marinas to warn them.
“These guys are going to get caught,” Martinez said. “It’s just a matter of time.”