Watch CBS News

Whiskeytown Lake paddleboarder hitches ride on motorboat to catch up with suspected thieves

CBS News Live
CBS News Sacramento Live

WHISKEYTOWN - Three boaters are facing criminal charges after they allegedly stole from paddleboarders and tried to ram them with their boat in Shasta County on Whiskeytown Lake.

On Saturday Whiskeytown Rangers were notified of a theft in the area of Whiskeytown Lake, which is in Whiskeytown–Shasta–Trinity National Recreation Area.

The victims said they were on the lake on a stand-up paddleboard when they spotted a motorboat carrying three males headed to where the paddleboarders had left their things. The victims say they watched as one of the suspects stepped off the boat and took the victims' items from the shoreline, according to a statement from the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. The victims paddled toward the motorboat, attempting to hail the suspects and get their property back.

Suspected thieves Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

But instead of giving the property back, the suspect taunted the victims and left in the boat with the victims' property. 

One of the victims flagged down a passing motorboat and explained to the driver what had just happened. The victim then got into the motorboat, and the driver chased the suspects' boat in order to get the victims' property back or identify the suspects' boat. 

At one point during the chase, the suspects threw the victims' property overboard, some of which was recovered by the victim, authorities say.                                                                    

As the boat carrying the victim got close to the suspects' boat, the driver of the suspects' boat started driving erratically and attempted to try to ram the victim's vessel, causing several near-collisions, authorities say. Some of the near misses were caught on video. 

Concerned about their safety, the victim and their driver left the scene. They then reported the incident to Whiskeytown Law Enforcement Rangers who attempted to locate the suspects. Later that evening, photos and videos of the suspects were posted to social media and shared widely around the Shasta County community.

Following the posts, numerous tips about the identities of the suspects as well as the location of the suspect's boat flooded in. Due to those tips, authorities were able to positively identify the suspects.

The suspects' identities have not been released and it's unknown if they have been arrested. Authorities say only that several criminal charges will be filed.

"We are happy to have the support of our visitors and local community members who care deeply about the park," said park Superintendent Josh Hoines said.

Whiskeytown Lake is located along Highway 299, about 10 miles west of Redding in Shasta County.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.