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San Joaquin Sheriff's Office Warns Boat Owners To Be Vigilant After Two Boat Thefts

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY (CBS13) — Richard Lorenz has a startling realization around Christmas day when he went to where he docks his yacht in San Joaquin County.

"Oops! Somebody stole the boat," Lorenz said.

The sheriff's office says it had two reports of stolen boats, the yacht and a fishing boat, within days of each other.

Stockton Police arrested these two people on Sunday, Kaili Garrett and Marcela Martinez, for allegedly stealing the fishing boat with stolen property inside it. The arrest led police straight to Lorenz's yacht.

"It was a farmer seeing the deputies in the area, made contact with them, "Hey, you know there's one over here as well?' 'Uh, no we don't,'" Sergeant Carey T. Pehl, with San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office boating unit, said.

Lorenz said he was beyond happy to get the boat back so quickly. He also praised the dedication and effort of law enforcement.

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But, Lorenz wasn't happy with the repairs he now has to do. "It's disappointing to see how they trashed it and ripped everything up inside," Lorenz said.

Lorenz said he bought his $200,000, 47-foot-yacht, the Seaduction, 10 years ago in Florida.

The sheriff's office says it's not unusual to see boat and yacht thefts this time of year but, they don't happen frequently.

"The watercraft in the marinas are usually used pretty seasonal. They're summertime recreation vessels," Pehl said.

He also added that these vessels tend to be rifled through once they are stolen.

"We do see them stripped down for their parts and their amenities inside. In the larger crafts, they're like a floating home," Pehl said. "They have a lot of electronics and things of that nature that are of high value."

Lorenz says he plans on putting a new tracking device the Seaduction to make sure he knows if the yacht leaves unexpectedly again.

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"I have looked into some GPS tracking devices that we're going to put on the boat," Lorenz said. "So if somebody steals it, the second it moves they'll contact you and let you know hey your boats moving."

The sheriff's office and the yacht owner say there's also a more traditional approach people should try: asking your dock neighbors to be on the lookout.

Officials say the numbers they have doesn't show this is an on-going issue during the winter months. But the possibility of a threat could happen with fewer people checking in on their vessels.

"Pinpointing when they occur is often difficult because people are not coming out to see their property every day," Pehl said. "If you don't come out to see your vessel or your boat but once a month, it's hard to say when something was taken from it or what it's status is."

The sheriff's office says it's still investigating to see if the fishing boat and the yacht theft are connected.

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