Florida leads the country in boat thefts and it’s not even close. More than twice as many boats are stolen in the Sunshine State as in any other state.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau said there were 1,310 boat thefts in the state in 2013. California ranked second with 628.
"I want my boat back because that was my life," Beth Rouse told ABC Action News.
Rouse’s 2014 Yamaha jetboat was taken from her driveway in Tampa on Friday while she was sleeping.
"That's my bedroom right there," Rouse said as she pointed to a window in front of the driveway. "I didn't hear a thing. These guys were pros. They must have known what they were doing because they were super-quiet."
Rouse said she had a tire boot for the trailer that would have kept it from being towed, but didn't put it on that night.
"The biggest trend we're seeing is when the boats are stolen, they're unsecured," Tampa police spokesman Stephen Hegarty said.
There have been 27 boat-related thefts in Tampa this year. Jet skis, kayaks, large boats and their equipment have been stolen. Most of the thefts occurred with unsecured property.
Hegarty said some of the boats are used for illegal activity and others are stripped down and sold for parts. Some are used for joyriding and then ditched.