Florida boat owners are being warned to secure their vessels after an uptick in boat thefts believed to be linked to international drug and human smuggling rings.
Instead of just being swiped from docks and stripped of the motor and other parts, boat owners are learning from the Coast Guard that their vessels are gone and bound for Mexico to be used for nefarious purposes.
The boat thieves usually come at night and are favoring twin or triple engine boats at least 30 feet long, reported Tampa Bay’s News Channel 8. In some cases, boats have been stolen from owners’ driveways.
“They don’t go after the little ones and they don’t go after the old ones, they go after the nicest ones they can find that are not secured,” said Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming.
Law enforcement agencies across the state are teaming up to confront the spike in thefts, News Channel 8 reported.