AL Marine Police – boat heist a “professional” job

DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) – Daphne Police and Alabama Marine Police continue to investigate a huge boat and motor heist. It happened overnight Sunday into Monday morning, where thieves stole a 32-foot boat and five blue-water outboard motors from a Daphne boat dealership.

Lieutenant Alex Smith with Alabama Marine Police is on the trail again. This time after a 32-foot Cape Horn boat, five 300 horsepower Yamaha outboard motors and other items that were stolen from Sunrise Marine sales in Daphne this weekend. The losses total over $250,000 and Smith says he’s seen this same scenario play out several times before.

“This is the sixth or seventh time we’ve been hit in 15 years of this magnitude, of this type scenario you know, same M-O,” Smith said.

Smith has worked all of those cases, but hasn’t been able to catch the crooks, and in only one of the cases was he able to retrieve any of the stolen motors. He says whoever is doing it has cased out the scene ahead of time, has experience with boat motors and is extremely efficient at pulling off the crime.

“These people plan like a military mission. I mean, they’re the SEAL team of boat theft,” said Smith.

Smith is following up leads at other boat dealers. George Nall, owner of George’s Water Sports on Montlimar Dirive in Mobile, caught an intruder recently inside the barbwire fence on his property. It was a Sunday and the business was closed. Nall just happened to be driving by and saw a suspicious vehicle backed up to the rear of the property. He has no doubt what the man was up to.

“Almost positive that’s what it was…being cased for a robbery,” he said.

Nall chased the suspect in his car, but it got too dangerous, so he backed off. Smith is following up on that lead. Nall says that since the theft he and other boat dealers have tightened up security at their own shops. Based on past experience, Smith believes the stolen motors are already out of state and looking to be sold.

“The problem is a lot of these people are very good at changing serial numbers,” Smith explained.

So how would you know if the motor or boat you’re buying is stolen? One thing to consider is if the deal seems too good to be true, it more than likely is. But, there are other ways to tell if the motor or boat you’re buying might be stolen.

“We have registration through Yamaha and Mercury that we can go back and tell you who the original owner was of the boat,” Nall explained.

Officials also warn to be wary of buying anything online.

Daphne Police are still looking through several hours of surveillance video from nearby businesses to try and identify the tow vehicle used in the crime. Investigators tell us that in the half dozen thefts of this magnitude over the years in Baldwin County, the losses total more than $4 million dollars.

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