MELBOURNE, Fla. – Three people were arrested Tuesday night after Melbourne police received a tip that an organized theft ring may be in the area, according to authorities.
Melbourne police and detectives were keeping watch at Dockside Marine in the 2800 block of South Harbor City Boulevard, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
Police said the surveillance was prompted by information received from the Martin County Sheriff's Office about an organized theft ring targeting boats and outboard motors. The group was believed to have moved north from Martin County and reportedly had been as far north as the Pineda Causeway.
On April 8, three Miami-Dade men were arrested in Martin County after several boat motors valued in the thousands were reported stolen, officials said.
Melbourne police reported Tuesday night that they observed three men in two vehicles at Dockside Marine.
After cutting the fence, police said the men removed boat motors and equipment, "staging it for pickup" while the driver in the second vehicle kept watch.
Dockside Marine owner Chris Kavanaugh said the thieves used bolt cutters to make their way through the chain link fence at the back of this property.
Kavanaugh said they then removed a 700 pound motor off of one of his boats.
"They cut all the wiring harnesses. They undid all the hydraulics," Kavanaugh said showing News 6 the damage.
The method was similar to the April theft in Martin County, officials said.
The men fled and tried to hide when Melbourne police and deputies with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office moved in.
After a search of the compound, which included K-9 Officer Dave Helms and K-9 Brutus, all three were arrested for multiple felonies and transported to the county jail.
Amaury Figueredo, Orelvis Lopez Castillo and Osmany Ruiz Moreira were each assigned bonds Wednesday totaling over $100,000.
Authorities down south then announced the trio would also be facing charges in Martin County.
Melbourne police did not say if the suspects are connected to similar thefts in Lake and Volusia counties.
"We can safely assume it's from a much larger group that's doing it statewide," Cmdr. Marcus Claycomb said.
Anyone with information on this or similar cases is urged to contact Detective Jennewein at 321-608-6481 or call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.