Sarasota vigilante chases down men stealing his boat

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Posted: Monday, June 30, 2014 10:01 pm

SARASOTA, Fla A Sarasota boat owner ignored the advice of a police dispatcher, but says he got his boat back. Benajamin Hostetler says he went back to work Friday evening at a storage facility and got the surprise of a lifetime.

"It's like a girlfriend you've dated for a longtime, you see her at a club, and you know it's your girlfriend," he began to explain.

"So I'm pulling out, I do a double-take, I see my boat hooked to a white van."

Hostetler called 9-1-1 and began chasing two men in a white van, at times hitting one hundred miles an hour.

"Dispatchers told me not to chase them, I tell them I'm 'gonna', it's my boat, it's very important to me, I'm going to chase them," he said.

After they crossed into Charlotte County, the chase ended fast.

"Cops started popping (appearing) left and right, bam bam bam, a helicopter above, next thing you know they had the suspects and apparently the van was stolen, so I got my boat back and I got somebody's van back as well," he said.

Deputies arrested two suspects from Miami. And Hostetler wasn't quick to leave.

"I stuck around and talked to the officers, tried to make sure these guys (get prosecuted) for this because it's not acceptable," he said, still angry.

The boat did sustain some damage--and a cushion actually blew off during the chase. Hostetler went back later and found it on the interstate miles away near the Jacaranda Boulevard exit in Venice.

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