Indiana Conservation Officer Jerry Hoerdt observed a speeding boat on Lake Wawasee at about 8 p.m. Friday. Hoerdt said the boat was traveling at about 30 mph when he activated his emergency lights and followed the vessel for some distance before it finally came to a stop in the area of Enchanted Hills. Hoerdt identified the operator as a 14-year-old juvenile, who was accompanied by a 13- year-old passenger.
The two juveniles admitted to stealing the boat at around 8 p.m. from the Enchanted Hills area to take it for a “joy ride.” The boat appeared to be undamaged despite the juveniles reckless operation.
Hoerdt obtained adult guardianship information for each juvenile and summoned the parents to the public boat ramp to pick up their children. The youths now face charges of theft and will be summoned into the Kosciusko County probation department to answer for this incident.
The owner of the boat was located Sunday, June 10, in Nappanee at his residence and advised of the incident.
Indiana Conservation Officers want to remind boat owners that there are some helpful tips that, if followed, can lessen the likelihood of you having your boat or property stolen. Never leave the keys in or on your boat. If it is absolutely necessary to leave your key onboard the boat, store it in a combination lock box and only give out the combination to trusted persons. Disconnect one or both battery terminal cables when finished with your outing. If your keys do fall in the wrong hands, a would-be thief may not think to check the battery if they try unsuccessfully to start it up.
There are other helpful hints to help protect your boat and property from theft such as:
- Insure your boat registration is up to date and properly displayed. This can help officers quickly locate a stolen boat through a BMV records check.
- Photograph your boat and property
- Permanently etch or engrave your name onto your property
- Record your property’s identifying information such as make, model, serial number, etc.
- Remember “out of sight, out of mind”, securely store your valuables out of plain view
- Purchase insurance if possible for your boat and property
Neighbors helping neighbors on the lake is also a good motto to live by. Stay aware and be vigilant of any suspicious activity or unfamiliar persons in or around your neighbors boats. More helpful tips and information on how to protect your boat from theft can be found by visiting www.BoatSafe.com. To report a theft of your boat or to report suspicious activity call your Indiana Conservation Officers dispatch at 812-837-9536 or your local law enforcement agency.