Boat Thieves Caught on Video

Miami skipper's videocamera offers rare glimpse into the nocturnal rip-off artists' activities.

Boat thief caught in the act

Boat thief caught in the act

Caught in the act!

For anglers who own boats, it’s a nightmare scenario. At 0-dark-thirty, you go to hitch up your boat, which you loaded up last night, for a day on the water that you’ve looked forward to all week. It’s then you realize that you're missing most of your gear. You’ve still got your hull and power, but thieves have lifted your most valuable gear.

That was close to the situation for Capt. Mark Houghtaling, well-known Miami charter skipper. He hadn’t counted on that when he arrived at his boat one morning early last week. However, the scoundrels who ransacked his boat hadn’t counted on being movie stars.

It turns out that Houghtaling had installed a video camera in his boat shed and the thieves were caught on the act for all to see — including you, by clicking on the video below.

The word quickly went out over the internet that the whole act had been videotaped — and most of the gear mysteriously showed up at Houghtaling’s house the next day. “The police are fingerprinting the stuff,” he told me. Between that and the video, “Arrests are coming; they think they have the guys.”

Houghtaling said apparently the same team hit another Contender that night “and got a lot more than they got from my boat.” The skipper is finalizing plans to move to the Panhandle soon, having had quite enough of Miami, he says.