Crime

Palmetto man stole $80,000 boat prize, cops say. He didn’t know about the GPS tracker

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

It didn’t take long for deputies to figure out what happened to a boat stolen from the parking lot of a Bradenton business. Now, a Palmetto man is charged with grand theft.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office responded to the State Road 64 Boat Ramp, where Bradenton Police say they discovered an abandoned boat that had been stripped of all kinds of equipment, including a pair of Yamaha motors, a T-Top and a steering wheel.

The 29-foot 2020 Contender and a trailer to go with it had been taken from the Crowder Bros. store in the 5400 block of Manatee Avenue W., according to an arrest report. The items worth $80,000 were set to be raffled off by the Coastal Conservation Alliance.

Deputies say the prizes were stolen around 12:40 a.m. on Aug. 12. That’s when video surveillance captured 49-year-old Arsenio Amaran towing away the boat with his pickup truck.

Using a GPS tracker embedded in the boat, the sheriff’s office was able to determine that Amaran transported the vessel to the 1600 block of 14th St. W. in Palmetto, according to an arrest report.

Video surveillance in the neighborhood also captured the victim confronting Amaran about the stolen boat on the same day it was stolen. He denied any involvement in the theft.

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But moments later, a neighbor’s video feed caught Amaran stepping into his yard where deputies say he was hiding the equipment that was removed from the boat. A U-Haul truck was loaded up with the equipment and taken to an unknown location, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies conducted a search warrant of Amaran’s property Aug. 14 and did not find any of the stolen property. According to an arrest report, Amaran continued to deny any involvement in the robbery.

Amaran was arrested and charged with grand theft Wednesday. He was released from the Manatee County Jail on Thursday after posting $7,500 bond.

Ryan Callihan is the Bradenton Herald’s County Reporter, covering local government and politics. On the weekends, he also covers breaking news. Ryan is a graduate of USF St. Petersburg.
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