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Troubled waters: Two thieves use kayaks to burglarize boats at Marco Island Marina

Posted at 9:45 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 23:28:28-04

MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — Police are searching for two suspects caught on camera burglarizing boats at Marco Island marina.

Their getaway: two kayaks they used to travel from boat to boat. At about 2:30 on Wednesday morning, two kayakers strolled through Marco Island Marina. It may seem innocent but surveillance footage caught them boarding three boats, even stealing a security camera from one of them.

“It is crazy times that we’re living in right now," says Richard Varnes, Dockmaster at Marco Island Marina Association. "People are desperate and they’re willing to go to extreme measures to make sure they have that boat.”

Varnes is the dockmaster of Marco Island Marina and is baffled by the event. He says the largest crime they’ve dealt with is stolen fishing poles.

“It’s very rare. We almost never have any trouble here. 99.99% of the time people are great and with our friends and family here, they keep this place a loving marina the way it should be here in Southwest Florida.”

As much of a rarity crime is, the biggest security issue Varnes says he sees is people leaving possessions on their boat.

“I’ve got people that will leave, sometimes, their cameras on the boat. They will leave binoculars on the boat- high end binoculars. They’ll leave tackle and they’re flagging all of their tackle. Please don’t do that, lock all of your tackle up in the cockpit of your boat. Lock your belongings up. There’s no sense in leaving a candy jar unopened for somebody that’s going to grab some candy out of your boat.”

It’s possible, as Varnes believes, that the thieves were only after a fishing pole. However, as is the case with many industries bouncing back from the Covid-19 pandemic, they may have been after some equipment that is in short supply.

“What we’re seeing right now is a shortage of outboards up to October-November of 2021 if you buy one," said Varnes. "You can’t find a 25 horsepower Yamaha or Mercury anywhere- it’s hard to find. So if you’re the owner of a vessel that has a dingy on the back of it with 25 horse, lock it up. If you’ve got a boat in your yard displaying your beautiful motor, lock it up.”

At the time we spoke to Varnes, he told us how two marina members noticed two people rowing kayaks in the marina last week. Varnes says they will continue to review surveillance footage and work with police, leaving him confident both suspects will be apprehended.

“With our security team in place walking the docks and with our people around, we’re confident that this type of activity- that is so rare here on Marco Island- it will not go unnoticed.”

In the meantime, police are asking for those to contact them with any information. Marco Island Police can be contacted at (239) 389-5050.