BOKEELIA, Fla. — Local deputies said they see more boat thefts as summer approaches. George Halper said he learned a hard lesson after his propeller was stolen years ago.
“I didn’t have a prop lock on at the time. So, I learned the hard way…a $500 lesson,” he said.
A lesson he said he could’ve avoided with a $50 propeller lock. He added locks to keep thieves away.
“When they have to look at locks, they’re going to say this is going to take too much time. I might get caught,” he said.
Since 2016 Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office reported 50 boat properties stolen every year, including everything from actual boats to GPS devices to motors to lower end units.
Now, Halper said he secures his boat in a well-lit marina surrounded by plenty of homes in Bokeelia.
Some agencies like CCSO are looking out for boat thefts from the sky. And doing it more often this time of year when thefts are higher. CCSO Pilot Shane Engelauf said it stops crime in its tracks.
“If the public sees it and they see something that needs to be looked at and I’m flying…It’s a big left-hand turn for me to go and take a look at it and verify that it is something or it isn’t,” he said.
They urge the public to call them as soon as possible if you see suspicious activity They said it could make a world of a difference.
“The time delay is our biggest killer when trying to catch someone in the act of stealing something. So if you wait til the next day, the investigation process is going to be a lot longer,” he said.
CCSO said treat your boat like your your car. Lock it up and take all valuables with you when you leave.