BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — A recent theft at a local kayak rental has caused an owner to rethink his security strategy.
CGT Kayaks were the victims of a theft earlier this week when they had one tandem kayak- that was tied up- stolen off their property.
“Somebody decided to come in and steal a kayak from us," says John Paeno, Owner of CGT Kayaks. "Actually, they tried to steal a kayak and paddle board but they only got away with a kayak.”
For 15 years, CGT Kayaks has been in business. Operating as a kayak rental just a stone’s throw away from the Imperial River. But what they experienced Monday- a stolen tandem kayak- has left a sizeable impression on its owner.
“It hasn’t been a real issue, in the past," said Paeno. "We’ve noticed recently just more people in the parks and people here at night and then vandalism when we come in the morning. We’ve had to pick up broken bottles and beers and all that kind of stuff. It’s just a little more frequent than what we’re used to seeing.”
The recent theft has made Paeno step up his security measures. New locks have been placed on the kayaks and a new video security system is on the way.
“We had cables and locks but now we stepped it up and got some heavy duty chain and heavy duty locks and put them on. We’re installing cameras to cover the blind spot.”
CGT Kayaks isn’t the only one experiencing the theft. Earlier this week, a resident in Cape Coral had two of their kayaks stolen off their property. Police were able to track down the thieves, who had attempted to sell the items online. It’s a market, as Paeno says, that seems to be in hot water right now.
CGT is one of the first to train with the coast guard for kayak safety. This year, a record number of kayaks being sold across the state is being noticed.
“They’re expecting a record number of kayakers out there and they’re actually gearing up to put Coast Guard Officers in kayaks," said Paeno. "Kayaking is becoming a very popular thing. A lot of people are doing it so it’s not unusual for people to try to capitalize on that, either to steal it for themselves or to steal them and sell.”
That surge in demand has caused a shortness in supply, meaning the earliest Paeno can get a replacement will be September. Though he may be down one kayak, Paeno says the business will survive.
“We’ve been through BP oil spills, hurricanes, flooding up this high through the park here," he said. "Heck, they closed the road for two years in redevelopment and we were still here so we’re survivors. We’re not going anywhere.”