OVIEDO, Fla. – A total of 19 lower assembly units, each valued at thousands of dollars, were stolen from two Oviedo boatyards in the past several weeks, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said Monday.
The first incident was reported Jan. 14, when 13 units were stolen from Boat Max USA. Surveillance video shows two men removing a unit, which weighs between 70 and 100 pounds, and then hauling it off.
The second incident happened sometime between Jan. 27 and Feb. 8 at Oviedo Boat and RV Storage. Six units were stolen from that boatyard, deputies said.
In both cases, deputies said, the thieves cut through fences to gain access to the boatyards.
"It hurt. It hurt," said Chuck Haibel, who had just purchased his boat for his son for Christmas.
The lower part of the engine was stolen, and he said it was going to cost nearly $4,000 to replace it.
Haibel said he saw the surveillance video showing the people responsible, and he believes they are professional thieves.
Haibel had a message for them.
"I don't think you should come back to Oviedo, because I think everybody on here and every police officer is going to be watching," Haibel said.
Officials had a message for boat owners.
"Investigators say you can prevent the theft of your lower assembly unit by disconnecting the batteries to disable the trim/tilt function," the Sheriff's Office said in a news release. "The lower assembly unit cannot be removed if it can’t be trimmed up, and the engines are down and touching the ground."
Anyone with information is asked to call the Seminole County Sheriff's Office at 407-665-6650 or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.