Thieves targeting fishing gear Keyswide

Fishing is big business in the Keys — among not only anglers but thieves: Increasingly, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says, expensive gear and tackle are being stolen from throughout the county, and the Sheriff’s Office is looking for help finding the culprits.

The latest hit was Tuesday, when $16,000 worth of rods and reels including Penns were stolen from a house on 97th Street in Marathon. Also stolen during that break-in was a 50-inch flat-screen television. Deputy Garrett Test found a window unlocked that might have been the point of entry.

“There have been a number of break-ins in various areas of the county with fishing equipment stolen,” Deputy Becky Herrin said. “Fishing equipment has also been reported stolen from docks, fishing boats and storage sheds.”

On April 23, Murray Marine on Stock Island reported that someone entered the main building and had cut padlocks off storage lockers used by boat captains to store their belongings. “A large amount of equipment was stolen from those lockers, including many high-end rods and reels,” Herrin sad.

Herrin said “anyone attempting to sell such equipment on the street, door to door or for an absurdly low price, should be a clue that there is something wrong. If someone tries to sell you any type of property, make sure you call the Sheriff’s Office before purchasing it. If the person selling it to you is above board, they should have no problem having a law enforcement officer check it first to make sure it is not stolen.”

“If [the seller doesn’t] agree, do not purchase the property. If you do, and you suspect it might be stolen, you could face charges,” Herrin said.

Anyone with information about the thefts — or any crime — can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys anonymously. If a tip leads to an arrest, the tipster might be eligible for a reward. The number is (800) 346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

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