Thieves eyeing property on boats for the fourth

Thieves eyeing property on boats for the fourth
By: Ryan Tate
Missouri Water Patrol investigators have their hands full with thieves stealing from boats.
In 2004, investigators logged more than 2,800 hours tracking down stolen goods.  In 2005, that number rose to 3,400.  Officers say the number will be higher in 2006.
"When people get on lakes and rivers, most of the time they are on vacation," Water Patrol Officer David Nelson said. "People stealing their things is the last thing on their minds."
Common items stolen are fishing poles, life jackets, stereos and other electronics.  Ofc. Nelson says, in some cases, thieves are taking the boats.
"We try to take all things out that are valuable, especially if we dock at a marina," boater Dan St. Lawrence of Poplar Bluff said. "So we try not to let people access it."
St. Lawrence said he has had some life jackets and fishing poles taken in the past.
"I an not surprised. I don't put nothing past nobody."
"We are very aware of everything," boater Robert Conley said. "We know exactly where everything is at. We've got certain compartments for things and we keep an eye on them."