Rash of boat thefts in Polk County has community on edge

Victim: Boat stolen out of yard while he slept
Posted at 11:14 PM, Aug 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-04 05:21:22-04

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says they are investigating nearly 20 cases of boats being stolen in the Winter Haven and Lake Wales area.

“The tracks looked like they pulled in her, pulled up, backed up to it, hooked up and just drove off with it,” Rodger Riley said. Riley said he had a lock on his trailer but the thieves cut it off. He didn't even know his boat was missing when investigators called.

“I think there's some thugs around and they are pretty brazen,” Riley said.

Riley said his boat was found intact about four miles from his home. The thieves stole his motor but didn't touch anything else.

“There's not much I can do about it…the good thing is I still got the boat it's in good shape,” Riley said.

Investigators said most of the boats have been stolen from yards or driveways. Riley said if people don't want to become their next victim they should buy better locks.  

If you saw anything suspicious in the Breeze Way area of Lake Wales/Walk-in-Water on July 25, or have any information about this suspect or these thefts, please contact the Southeast District at 863-678-4115.

Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call heartland crime stoppers at 1-800-226-tips or log onto to submit your tip via the web.