ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies are searching for the thieves who broke into a self-storage facility over the weekend and made off with more than $100,000 in boat motors, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said.
The break-in was discovered Saturday morning at the Southeastern RV and Boat Storage facility on St. Johns Parkway.
Although the lot is gated, deputies said nine motors were stolen, but the thieves were unable to get a 10th one off the motor mount.
The Sheriff's Office contacted six of the boat owners, and the value of their six engines added up to $118,000.
News4Jax spoke with one of those boat owners, who did not want to be identified, but said the same thing happened recently to another boat he sold to a neighbor.
"Actually, the first time it happened, me and my wife were talking about it and (said), 'Why wasn't more information put out there?'" the boat owner said. "Because it seemed like a lot. But, now that it's happened again, it's definitely a lot, so it seems like a re-occurring situation."
The boat owner said he's heard about these kinds of heists from other boaters.
"It's always late at night, so they give themselves enough time," the boat owner said. "You know, I guess it takes five hours to get down to South Florida, or anywhere down in that area, so by the time anybody recognizes that anything's gone, they've already unloaded, unless they're caught in the act."
The boat owner has one piece of advice for whoever stole the boat motors.
"Get a job. That's what I do," he said. "I get up every day and go to work. That's it. Because even though I've got insurance, it is going to be an inconvenience for me and my wife."
The man and his wife said they haven't even had the boat for a year. He hopes to get the word out so the thieves can be caught.
There was also damage done to the boats as the motors were removed, deputies said.
An on-site security company said there is surveillance video that shows a U-Haul truck pulling in and people loading the boat motors and leaving.
Detectives are reviewing that surveillance footage and hoping DNA swabs turn up some evidence that can lead them to the thieves.