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Warning To Boatowners In Pittwater


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This story is on the front page of today's Manly Daily:

Police warn of crime afloat

A SOPHISTICATED crime syndicate has stolen more than $500,000 worth of goods from boats moored in Pittwater over the past 18 months.

More than 75 ``significant'' thefts have been reported to Broken Bay Water Police since September 2005 according to records.

Broken Bay Commander, Detective-Senior Sergeant Chris Morgan, said the thefts were presenting a major problem for the area.

``They are stealing marine electrical equipment, navigational equipment, entertainment systems, flat screen televisions - expensive gear,'' Det-Sen-Sgt Morgan told said.

``It is well over $500,000 worth of stuff.

``They are forcing a lock and getting in that way - boats are reasonably insecure, it's not so hard to force a lock.

``We believe it is a well organised group or syndicate, and have been unable to locate the stolen goods.''

It is well known in property theft that thieves commonly return once the stolen property is replaced.

This has now spread to boat thefts, with Det-Sen-Sgt Morgan confirming boats had been robbed more than once.

``So the goods are stolen, replaced by the owner, then stolen again,'' he said.

``We believe they are doing it in the afternoon to early morning and it would appear they are using a boat to get from boat to boat, because it is boats on moorings that are being targeted.''

Newport resident Peter Moran has had his boat broken into three times in two years, costing him more than $3000 just in insurance excesses.

``It's terribly frustrating,'' Mr Moran said.

``These people need to be caught or they'll keep doing it.

``All you can do is secure your boat as best you can.''

Det-Sen-Sgt Morgan said Broken Bay Water Police had spent countless hours trying to find the people involved and called on the public to come forward with any information.

``We've had extra staff come in from other water police around the state, as well as the anti-theft squad,'' Det-Sen-Sgt Morgan said.

``It's a huge problem for the area and we want to catch the people involved.

``We urge anyone with any information to come forward.''

Alan Thompson, co-ordinator of the area's Marine Watch, said volunteers had spent time on boats night and day observing activities on the water.

``We strongly advise all equipment be identified preferably with owner's drivers licence number as a means of identifying goods that are stolen,'' the Collaroy Plateau resident said.

``So if a second hand dealer sees the licence number on it, they can be alerted.

``Be smarter than thieves - mark all your goods now, not later.''

Anyone with any information should contact Broken Bay Water Police on 9910 7899 or 24 hour Operation Neptune line on 1800 658 784.

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