Thefts from boats put local police on alert

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With boating season about to get underway, some boat owners in New England are discovering unwanted surprises: Their expensive navigation equipment has been stolen.

“It’s crucial to all these boaters to have this gear and it’s expensive,” said Steve Chase who manages Bosun’s Marine in Peabody, Massachusetts. “I mean, these units range from $3,800 to $5,800.” 

Chase is one of 15 boat owners who has had navigation equipment stolen right from consoles in Peabody.

The thieves not deterred by bright lights and surveillance cameras cut their way into the shrink wrap and spend hours carefully removing the equipment.

“We have to get the exact replacement equipment,” said Chase.

And the equipment is in short supply. Seven boats at a Salsbury, Massachusetts marina were also hit.

Only state-of-the-art Garmin equipment is taken, leading investigators to believe it is an organized crime ring, not someone selling it at their neighborhood pawn shop.

“You can’t bring electronics to pawn shops without the actual container and sometimes even a receipt for it. Charging equipment,” said City of Groton Police Lt. Jason Brucker.

Related Content: CT DEEP advises boaters to stay safe as boating and fishing season arrives

He said his department received an alert about these thefts a few months ago, so overnight patrols were increased, which is the reason they say there haven’t been these thefts.

“Oh, I believe a hundred percent it is,” Lt. Brucker said. “Omnipresence is the big thing out there, and if they know you’re out and driving around and being busy, it keeps people away.”

Boats Incorporated in Niantic hasn’t had any problems and has only heard of a couple of props being stolen at other boatyards.

“We have many high definition cameras here that we can monitor. We can even read license plates, so if they were going to try it, they’re going to get caught pretty quick,” said Don MacKenzie, President of Boats Incorporated.

A police sergeant in another town tells News 8 that even though they haven’t received any reports of thefts, some people haven’t opened up their boats yet, so that could change.

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