3 arrested in alleged boat motor heist

Melbourne Police and the Brevard Sheriff’s Office say they have busted a team of crooks.

Three men are accused of pulling off a string of high-profile heists, in which boat parts and whole motors were taken, typically at night. Police say their crime spree started south and worked up the coast, but they were caught in the middle of a job and the takedown was all caught on camera.

Police say the suspects cut a hole in the fence, backed up their van to the hole, and went into the boat yard with motors on the mind. 

Melbourne Police say Dockside Marine on Harbor City Boulevard is just the latest spot the group has hit. Law-enforcement in Martin County gave Melbourne advance notice and intel about the crew heading north.

Investigators say the suspect would slip onto properties and marinas, then use heavy-duty tools to cut motors off boats, then load them into a white van.

“It leaves a bad taste in people‘s mouth, hurts the business because people say, 'Oh you’re in a bad neighborhood.’ Well I’ve never had an issue with the neighborhood; it’s always out of Miami,” said Chris Kavanaugh, owner of Dockside.

His security cameras caught the suspects working to detach the engines. Police confirm they’re from South Florida and are likely part of a network of thieves.

“And it’s something that you deal with in the boating industry, at least it was the motors, not the whole back of the boat cut off.” Kavanaugh said.And police say a fancy white Mercedes was the lookout car --doing laps around the area for counter surveillance.

“So if you see a certain vehicle, trolling the same section of road 20 times in a matter of 20 minutes, obviously that’s out of character behavior, you should report that to us,” said Melbourne Police spokesman Marcus Claycomb.

“This was not their first rodeo, that’s for sure,” Kavanaugh said.

Police say the investigation continues because there could be other teams out there under the same management.