Like Tree0Likes

Boat Thieves Busy In Florida

Reply
Old 10-17-2007, 11:44 AM
  #1
Registered
Thread Starter
 
Wardey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Palm Harbor, FL
My Boats: 2005 Extreme 29
Posts: 3,959
Default Boat Thieves Busy In Florida

Boat Thieves Busy In Florida

Pinellas County Sheriff's Capt. Michael Platt's 27-foot Contender sports fishing boat was stolen in July.

By Carlos Moncada of The Tampa Tribune

Published: October 17, 2007

Marine-Related Thefts Database

CLEARWATER - Michael Platt figures he's seen the last of his $140,000 fishing boat, stolen from a dry dock in July.

Pricey vessels such as his are being targeted in greater numbers throughout Florida, dismantled and sold for parts or kept intact and used for maritime smuggling operations by organized crime rings.

"Usually if they don't find them within a couple of weeks, you're done," said Platt, a Seminole resident and 33-year veteran of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

He is among several dozen boat theft victims in the Bay area, where vessel thievery is up nearly 15 percent, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

So far this year, 183 vessels have been taken from residences and marinas in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties compared to 156 during all of last year, statistics show.

Overall, boat thefts in Florida are up 30 percent this year, with more than 1,200 reported stolen, mostly in South Florida. Along with that increase is a spike in the theft of big boats with big engines, so-called "go-fast" boats, and fishing vessels in the 26- to 39-foot range.

"The bigger boats are being targeted with greater frequency than in previous years," said Lt. John Humphreys, of the conservation commission's investigations section.

Thefts are up, in part, because there are more boats in Florida as its population increases, Humphreys said. The Sunshine State has more than 1 million registered vessels.

Increasingly, though, go-fast boats and fishing vessels are being stolen for their high dollar value and for maritime smuggling activities, Humphreys said. According to some reports, human smuggling operations are bringing thousands of undocumented Cuban migrants to the United States on high-powered speedboats, primarily by way of remote beaches in the Florida Keys or Mexico, at a price of up to $10,000 a head.

Fast, seaworthy boats such as Platt's Contender sport fishing boat, with its two 250-horsepower Yamaha engines and top speed of 60 mph, are the vessels of choice among traffickers, authorities said.

"It's made for speed and range and visibility," Platt said. "They're highly desired by people who do immigrant smuggling and drug smuggling."

Even the chairman of the wildlife commission, Rodney Barreto, is a victim. Barreto had his 36-foot Contender stolen from his Key Largo home last month. It was recovered at a state park a few miles from his home.

Onboard were two 50-gallon drums of fuel, bags of food and water. Such a boat can hold about 30 people and could net smugglers up to $300,000 per trip.

"The assumption was the vessel was going to be used to be able to travel somewhere [far] to bring people back, and that's why there was fuel and food onboard." Humphreys said.

Platt thinks a similar fate may have befallen his boat, taken from a dry dock at Madeira Beach Municipal Marina in July while he was out of town. He said the boat, which was on a trailer, was locked down but not covered.

Thieves cut the locks off the gate and towed the boat away on its trailer. Surveillance video has yielded no clues.

"It just disappeared," Platt said." My belief is someone out of the area wanted it because it's not a boat you can just ride around here. I truly believe somebody took it, went to South Florida and either warehoused it or took it down to the islands.''

Part of the problem is that boats can be broken down and sold quickly, said Pinellas sheriff's Sgt. Charles Degenhardt, who handles boat thefts in south Pinellas County.

"Most everything in the boating world is designed to be modular," he said. "They can break it down and sell it very quickly for parts, much easier than they can even for a car."

Humphreys said boat theft often is a crime of opportunity.

If people used the same precautions with boats as they do their cars, there would be fewer boats stolen, he said.

"There are all kinds of anti-theft devices and car alarms, but when it comes to boats, they don't install the same alarm," he said. "And they leave their keys aboard or leave them accessible."

Reporter Carlos Moncada can be reached at (727) 451-2333 or [email protected].
Wardey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2007, 01:10 PM
  #2
Registered
Trade Score: (1)
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Lafayette,La
My Boats: 31 Resin bucket
Posts: 5,335
Default

wow, pretty bad when the police are getting jacked..
Open72 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2007, 08:08 PM
  #3
Banned
 
cuda's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Deland, Florida
Posts: 25,191
Default

Check to see if the insurance was more than the boat was worth.
cuda is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2007, 08:19 PM
  #4
Registered
 
georges's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Cape Coral Fl
My Boats: 1978 Pantera 24 (sold) 1988 Donzi 18 Classic
Posts: 1,363
Default

Hmmmm...........Just wondering how a sheriff or a "wildlife commission whatever" can afford $140K+ boats?
georges is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2007, 05:34 AM
  #5
Registered
VIP Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boca Raton, FL
My Boats: None
Posts: 3,682
Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by georges View Post
Hmmmm...........Just wondering how a sheriff or a "wildlife commission whatever" can afford $140K+ boats?
That's easy! Good credit, a wealthy wife, a wealthy girlfriend, a wealthy boyfriend, member of the Lucky Sperm Club, successful children, successful stock transactions, miscellaneous successful investments, etc.

Doesn't always have to be something illegal, right?
Edward R. Cozzi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2007, 09:06 AM
  #6
Registered
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 9,590
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward R. Cozzi View Post
That's easy! Good credit, a wealthy wife, a wealthy girlfriend, a wealthy boyfriend, member of the Lucky Sperm Club, successful children, successful stock transactions, miscellaneous successful investments, etc.

Doesn't always have to be something illegal, right?
Don't forget the last 5 years in FL was a major real estate boom so the house Joe Cop raised his kids in for 20 years was worth 4-5 times what he bought it for. A lot of cops down here are retired from other departments, move here when they are 45 with a nice pension and start working for a local agency doing the same job but now get paid twice as much (paycheck + pension check). A friend of mine made some money a few years back since he was a sheriff's deputy he delivered the foreclosure notices to people losing their homes. If it was a deal he was making them cash offers and buying the houses before anyone even knew they were in foreclosure. The guy lives in a brand new 700K house now with no mortgage due to the success he had flipping the foreclosed homes.
Jupiter Sunsation is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2007, 05:02 PM
  #7
Registered
 
2112's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Socialist Republic of Washington State
My Boats: 04' Gladiator powered by Ford
Posts: 1,970
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jupiter Sunsation View Post
Don't forget the last 5 years in FL was a major real estate boom so the house Joe Cop raised his kids in for 20 years was worth 4-5 times what he bought it for. A lot of cops down here are retired from other departments, move here when they are 45 with a nice pension and start working for a local agency doing the same job but now get paid twice as much (paycheck + pension check). A friend of mine made some money a few years back since he was a sheriff's deputy he delivered the foreclosure notices to people losing their homes. If it was a deal he was making them cash offers and buying the houses before anyone even knew they were in foreclosure. The guy lives in a brand new 700K house now with no mortgage due to the success he had flipping the foreclosed homes.
Is that like insider trading?
2112 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2007, 05:14 PM
  #8
Registered
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 9,590
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2112 View Post
Is that like insider trading?
Ha, actually it is public record but he is the first person to know about it!
Jupiter Sunsation is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2007, 01:34 PM
  #9
Registered
 
georges's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Cape Coral Fl
My Boats: 1978 Pantera 24 (sold) 1988 Donzi 18 Classic
Posts: 1,363
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward R. Cozzi View Post
That's easy! Good credit, a wealthy wife, a wealthy girlfriend, a wealthy boyfriend, member of the Lucky Sperm Club, successful children, successful stock transactions, miscellaneous successful investments, etc.

Doesn't always have to be something illegal, right?
You're right. My suspicious and cynic nature got the best of me.
georges is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2007, 01:45 PM
  #10
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
 
Perfectmix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Traverse City, Mi
Posts: 850
Default

2 of the of the 183 boats stolen out of the Pinellas Co. were mine both locked up behind gates. No boat is safe in Florida.
Perfectmix is offline  
Reply With Quote
Reply

Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
SHARKEY-IMAGES
General Boating Discussion
2
05-27-2006 03:42 PM
Formula Outlaw
General Boating Discussion
76
02-07-2005 11:27 PM
SLIP AWAY
General Boating Discussion
0
10-04-2004 12:06 PM
Dock Holiday
Baja
24
11-21-2002 08:11 AM



Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:14 AM.


Copyright 2011 OffShoreOnly. All rights reserved.