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Florida broker charged in boat theft probe

The owner of a Florida boat and yacht brokerage and another man were arrested on grand theft charges after authorities said they sold stolen boats overseas.

Mark A. Conner, 38, of Treasure Island, was arrested last week on charges of scheme to defraud and four counts of grand theft, the St. Petersburg Times reported. He was being held on $40,000 bail Friday at the Pinellas County Jail.

Lawrence P. Plumstead, 44, of Seminole, was arrested on three counts of grand theft. Plumstead was released Friday morning after posting $15,000 bond.

The investigation began in August after deputies received a complaint that Conner, owner of Suncoast Marine, stiffed customers on the sale of three boats. Deputies said Conner accepted the boats on consignment, with the agreement that he would take a commission on sales.

However, he did not pay the owners or the lending company.

Authorities began to watch Conner and they saw him and Plumstead shrink-wrapping a stolen Scout model boat for shipment to Australia, the newspaper reported.

Deputies operating under a search warrant then found four more stolen boats and trailers at the lot. The vessels, all between 21 and 25 feet, were a Boston Whaler, a Pro Line center console, a Century center console and a Century walkaround.

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