Florida Leads U.S. in Boat Thefts: WaveRunner New Target

Jacksonville is a large diverse city with diverse people from all walks of life. Some of Jacksonville’s citizens choose take a path that leads to being charged with crimes. Some of these crimes include vehicle burglary. Any circumstances that leads one to being charged with a crime still entitles one to seek legal assistance to ensure that one‘s rights under the law is protected. One who finds themselves in this situation needs an experienced defense attorney to assist in ensuring one’s rights are protected.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Yamaha Motor Co. (7272)’s WaveRunner was the most sought-after watercraft among thieves in 2012 in Florida, totaling 538 WaveRunners stolen last year. Florida also happens to be the state with the highest number of stolen boats. Personal watercraft were the No. 1 boat stolen at 1,373 thefts, followed by runabouts at 937, utility boats at 360, cruisers at 251 and sailboats at 42. images%20%285%29.jpg

Any person who steals another person’s property without permission can be charged with a theft crime in the state of Florida. The extent and severity of criminal charges vary case per case, but will normally depend upon the defendant’s prior criminal record, if the defendant has committed prior theft crimes, and the extent of the monetary damages, and if a weapon was used during the commission of the crime. In cases such as this, the severity will be based on the amount that was stolen, which in this case will be the fair market value of the boat stolen; in this case, if one looks to the Yamaha Website, one will see that WaveRunners are well over $10,000 per watercraft.

Many times, thieves will steal these smaller watercraft in order to make a quick but many times heft buck, either selling the craft as a whole or selling it in parts. Many times, the victims of these sorts or crimes are simply those who left their watercraft in the water unattended; other times, these thefts occur over night, by thieves coming to the residence and haul the watercraft away. Thieves target smaller boats like jet-skis because they are much easier to hide, especially in places like storage units or personal garages; however, if the thief stole a large sailboat, they would have to hide that boat in a marina or larger storage facility that might suspect criminal activity or be subject to quicker police investigation.

Many times, the court will require that the convicted party pay restitution payments to the victims of these crimes. If the property one stole was a large amount or was in the form of cash or some other possibly non-returnable property, one may be required to pay the value of the stolen item, regardless it’s sometimes substantial worth. In cases like this, when the intent of the thief is to sell the stolen property, returning that property may be difficult. As such, the court may force one to pay the victim the value of the WaveRunner, in many cases being well over $10,000 per watercraft. Furthermore, the court may add additional fines that can be very expensive.

There are options one may choose when charged with a crime of this nature, but those options are subject to disappear the longer one waits to choose. Due to the severity of the legal consequences involved, it is always to one’s benefit to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney after one has been charged with a theft crime. One should contact an experienced attorney who can work with the Judge to show one’s true nature as a remorseful or wrongfully accused party, which may help make one’s punishment extremely small or nonexistent. If one obtains an experienced Jacksonville theft crimes defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights are protected, one can be sure that one will not be a victim in a fight one cannot win on one’s own.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source: WaveRunner Targeted as Florida Leads U.S. in Boat Thefts, Kathleen Chaykowski, Bloomberg.com