SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Bad news for some boaters this past weekend after learning that dozens of vessels had been broken into at a local marina.
It happened overnight on Saturday at the Phillippi Harbor Club in Sarasota. All types of electronics from about 30 boats were taken.
“Pretty big shock. It’s not how you want to start any day, but definitely not a Sunday,” Eric Lepley, the manager at Phillippi Harbor Club, said.
Just a few minutes after opening the doors to the hanger, the crew at the Philippi Harbor Club noticed that the electronics of one of the first boats were missing.
“We started to walk the inside of the facility, and peeked into other boats, and that’s when we noticed that there was equipment missing and multiple other boats as well,” Lepley added.
It wasn’t just a handful, but more than 30 boats that had missing equipment. The majority were the ones stored near the ground, but a few on the second level of the hanger were also affected.
“I was blindsided. I came right over here. I mean, I could obviously see the big, missing hole on the boat. It was not great,” Tyler Thirion, a boat owner who had his GPS stolen, said.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office was on the scene immediately, and now is trying to pin down suspects.
“Nothing like this, I mean really any kind of vandalism, anything reportable anyways, has happened here since the marina’s existence,” Lepley explained.
The thief or thieves pried open a piece of siding on the building and were able to take the thousands of dollars’ worth of technology before the marina opened on Sunday morning.
“They were in and out. They knew what they were doing. They unscrewed the Simrad from it, cut the wires behind it and they were gone,” Thirion said.
The hole has since been fixed, and the marina is looking into adding more surveillance cameras and motion detectors.
“We want our customers to understand that we take this seriously, and we are going to do everything we can to look at the best way to secure the marina moving forward,” Lepley told us.
Deputies are now reviewing surveillance video to help identify a suspect, but if anyone has any information you’re asked to call the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. The Phillippi Harbor Club is also giving a reward for any information that leads to an arrest.