Good job! I can only hope that the person I catch stealing
something of mine would be so lucky.
In an attempt to put some more drama on this board, I have a pretty good
(and entirely true) boat theft story.
LATE AUGUST 1992, OCOEE RIVER, TN
I took both my boats to the river, unsure of which one I would paddle. I
chose to paddle my squirt and put in at the bottom of Entrance Rapid (Staging
Eddy) to work the eddy line there. My car was parked on the road about 50
feet from the eddy line in easy sight.
I paddle for half an hour or so and notice that someone else had pulled
their car with a boat on top onto the shoulder of the road and parked next to
me. Nothing unusual about that. Two guys get out and seem to be looking at
the river and me squirting away. Then I see them begin to eye my brand new
Crossfire on my car. It looks suspicous so I keep a watchful eye on them as
I cartwheel my heart away in the water. Next thing I know I see my Crossfire
being lifted off my car and its heading toward their car! I paddle my squirt
boat to shore at warp speed (believe me, its not easy to do) and jump out as
fast as is possible to run up the steep bank. The two thieves have no idea I
am doing this. I come to the shoulder of the road right next to the back of
their car where one guy, about 17 years old was tying my boat down. In a great
surprise attack, I bombard him with obscenities and blows to the face
simultaneously. Okay, it was only one blow. It caught him by total surprise
because he had no idea I was there. The look on his face was the funniest
thing I have seen in a while. It was like he thought God had come out of
nowhere to punish him for his sinful act. He soon realized that was not the
case and began some poor explanation of what he was doing.
Still chastising the two thiefs, I pull my boat off the car. They speed
into the sunset, but not before I pull of the duct tape which covered their
license plate. After recovering my squirt boat, which was floating around the
eddy and tying my boats on the car (which was difficult since they cut my
straps) I drove the 1/2 mile to the put-in where Lance, the famed ranger was.
I made a report,etc. They were not able to catch the thieves that day before
they left the area.
A couple weeks later I get a call that they had pulled over a car matching
the description and with an almost identical tag to the one I had identified
and asked questions of the driver. They did not have any concrete evidence
with which to arrest him for but they did something pretty unusual....they
asked him to step out of the car and pose for an instan mug shot, Polaroid
style. The rangers told him that they would sent me the photos for
identification. They said he looked mortified. Anyway, the kid turned
himself in after the rangers spoke to his father. Turned out that he was 16
and his family lived quite comfortably in a nice part of Atlanta. He got
busted and as far as I know he probation and must register with the ranger
every time he paddles the Ocoee until he is an ***. He already paid
restitution for the cut straps and other damage he did.
I know that boat theft has been a problem around the Ocoee for a while so
let me give you a run down on this gut so you know who to watch closely.
AGE: now 17
WEIGHT: 165 or so
DRIVES A BLACK LATE MODEL HONDA CRX WITH GA. TAG # TRW 897 (Gwinnett)
Unfortuneately, I now lock my boat and keep close tabs on my gear.
Catching a boat thief is pretty uncommon but it feels great!
---- Scott H.
(but live in Atlanta)