South Florida is Top Spot for Watercraft Thefts in Country

South Florida is the top spot in the entire country when it comes to watercrafts being stolen. One family in Fort Lauderdale had their two wave runners stolen right out of their driveway.

Surveillance footage shows what it looked like in front of Wladmir Pimentel's Broward home early Friday morning. Masked men moved his SUV out of the way and then took his two wave runners worth $5,000 each.

"They have three guys in here that pushed. They pick up the wave runners out into the street," Pimentel explained. "My neighbor knocked on my door and you know, I saw my car in the middle of the street and then I looked and I don't have the wave runners."

The Broward Sheriff's Office is now on the lookout to find the two wave runners and the trailer they were on.

Unfortunately, Pimentel is not alone. The National Crime Insurance Bureau said Florida is the No. 1 spot in the country for the theft of water vessels. Last year, more than 1,200 were stolen. Only 30 percent of the time do victims get the vessels back.

Miami is the top city in the country for thefts and Fort Lauderdale is No. 3. The recovery rate in Fort Lauderdale is only two out of ten.

With summer almost here, the vessels you prize to use in your time off are a target for thieves.

"Don't leave them outside. It's bad. I lost about $10,000," Pimentel said.

What should you do to prevent this from happening to you?

  • When you "dock it, lock it" and secure it to the dock with a steel cable
  • Remove expensive equipment when not in use
  • Chain and lock detachable motors to the boat
  • Do not leave title or registration papers in the craft
  • Disable the craft by shutting fuel lines or removing batteries
  • Use a trailer hitch lock after parking a boat on its trailer
  • Install a kill switch in the ignition system
  • Ensure your marine insurance policy includes your equipment, boat and trailer
  • Take photos of the boat and mark it with a Hull Identification Number (HIN)
  • For more tips and advice, click here

If you know anything about these boat thefts, call Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.

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