South Florida

South Florida Boat Owners Turn to Social Media to Prevent Marine Thefts

In a response to a rise in marine thefts in South Florida, a group of boat and vessel owners, including law enforcement, have banded together on social media to keep an eye on their property and to hopefully prevent future crimes.

Back in April, Bruce Marx's GPS chart plotter, worth $5,000, was stolen from his boat. 

"I never expected this thing to happen to me and it did," he said.

In an effort to figure out who stole from him, he launched a Facebook group called South Florida Marina and Boat Watch.

To his surprise, more than 5,000 owners quickly jumped on board to share how they were victimized and who to be on the lookout for.

"We figured ... Rather than hearing it thirdhand [that] somebody got a boat stolen, or motor stolen, let's invite everybody to join this group — start posting pictures," Marx said.

Since launching the Facebook page, Marx said it created a network that even members of law enforcement are a part of so they are able to get information in real time.

"That only helps the cause," Miami police Cmdr. Freddie Cruz said. "It actually allows us and the City of Miami Police Department, our Criminal Investigations Section, to gather some of that information, that evidence, and again we get a lot of leads from other people who are actually involved in that network."

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