Thursday, March 6, 2008

Three Charged In Theft Of 34-Foot Boat

Collier County sheriff’s deputies have arrested three men in connection with the theft of a 34-foot vessel from Florida’s east coast.

Deputies made the arrest Thursday at the intersection of Pine Ridge Road and Collier Boulevard. They also recovered the boat, a Contender, which was stolen sometime after 10 a.m. Wednesday from the east coast marina where it was kept. Deputies were able to contact the owner about the boat’s recovery before the owner knew it was missing.

Charged with grand theft over $200,000 are Luis Porras Iglesias, 33, Neubel Hernandez Lazo, 34, and Yoismel Gonzalez Utra, 30, all of the Miami-Hialeah area.

According to reports, a concerned citizen called deputies Wednesday and said a large boat had appeared in the driveway of a vacant Golden Gate Estates home. When deputies investigated, they discovered the license plate did not belong to the trailer on which it was attached. They placed the home under surveillance.

On Thursday around 9 a.m., deputies saw a white Ford truck arrive at the home. A few hours later the truck left the house towing the boat and trailer behind it. Deputies followed it and conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of Pine Ridge Road and Collier Boulevard. The three men in the truck were taken in for questioning and later arrested.

CCSO Commander Rod Bishop said the unit responsible for this arrest has recovered more than $1 million worth of boats, trailers and related property in similar cases.

“This type of theft is a problem in Southwest Florida, and it’s a problem the Collier County Sheriff’s Office is addressing aggressively,” Bishop said.

The investigation is ongoing. No additional information will be released at this time.