Several Pasco Co. marinas targeted by thieves

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Marina managers and boat owners in the Bay Area are being warned to be on the lookout after a series of marina burglaries, where some big-ticket items have been stolen, Pasco County deputies said Thursday.

One of the first of the recent crimes happened September 19 at the Anclote Village Marina in Holiday. Thieves cut the locked gate to get in, and then stole a pair of 250 horsepower engines off of a boat, along with six lower propeller units from other boats.

The stolen items total about $100,000, according to Lee Eckler, the marina's General Manager.

"The customers are pretty upset," Eckler told FOX 13. "People love their boats and if they can't go boating, they're not happy campers."

Surveillance cameras at Eckler's business recorded the suspects, who have not yet been identified.

Anclote Village is one of four marinas targeted recently in Pasco County, along with a fifth boat manufacturing business. Several other marinas in Pinellas County have also been hit. Eckler thinks they're all connected.

"It appears it's the same group, at least, in part, the same group. And we're just frustrated trying to figure out what to do," he said.

Pasco detectives haven't ruled Eckler's theory out, adding they are looking into all possibilities while following a number of leads.

"It's an ongoing investigation," said Detective Todd Benett. "We're looking into if they are connected or not. We have several leads that we're following up on."

The Sheriff's Office has released photos from Eckler's surveillance video. Anyone with information should call Pasco deputies at 1-800-706-2488.