St. Augustine couple track down their stolen boat weeks after theft

Boat recovered; trailer still missing

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A St. Augustine couple whose boat was stolen thought they’d never see it again, let alone spot it on a highway. But that’s exactly what happened to Pastor Nelson Wilie and his wife, who helped lead police to the thieves.

Back in April, their boat, one of their most prized possessions, was taken.

“(I felt) a little anger and then frustration, but then I thought, ‘This is funny, (that) someone would want to come and just take something,’” Wilie said.

Wilie realized the boat was gone after returning home from Bible study.

“(On that) Thursday morning, I looked back and I thought my wife had maybe (moved) my boat and trailer,” Wilie said. “And I said, ‘Where is my boat?’ And she said, ‘Back there, where it was.’ And I said, ‘No, it's not.’ And sure enough, it was gone.”

The frequent fisherman assumed he'd never see his beloved boat again. But then this week, he received a text message from his wife.

“My wife was going to get my daughter from school and she turns onto the highway heading to the school, and a trailer with a truck comes right in front of her,” Wilie said. “There is my boat. She saw it, realized it was mine, took a picture of it, texted it to me and called the cops and followed them.”

The driver of the truck towing the boat went to a gas station to try to secure the boat, which wasn't even tied down. Wilie said police showed up within minutes and apprehended the driver.

“I think God works in mysterious ways and (things) just happen at the right place (and) at the right time,” Wilie said. “My wife thinks she's a detective now, but it's just kind of an odd thing to (have) happen. I'm thankful.”

Wilie’s trailer is still missing. Anyone with information is asked to call St. Augustine police.