IRMO, SC (WIS) - An Irmo boat dealership is the latest target of a sophisticated marine motor theft operation.
Owners of Carolina Inboard say a group of burglars cut through a fence and defeated security equipment before stealing seven expensive Yamaha motors and electronic consoles from three boats.
Co-owner Lauren Evans says the break-in began Saturday night and the suspects may have been on the dealership property on Bickley Road for as long as five hours.
"Yeah, it was pretty shocking that they were able to get in and do the amount of damage they did without us knowing about it," said David Evans.
Evans says the thieves broke the clutch line on a truck blocking an entrance so they could roll it out of their way. She says security cameras were recording until about 8:00 p.m. when someone cut the cables to them.
Evans says losses are estimated at between $150,000 to $200,000.
"I feel like, at this point in time, I don't know that there's any measure I could have taken other than physically being here to protect it, to keep them out," said David Evans. "They outsmarted my alarm system, breaking into the back door, going into the shop."
David Evans said the thieves may have been on the property for as long as eight hours.
The thefts follow break-ins discovered in March at boating and marine supply stores in West Columbia and Leesville.
Losses in those locations also ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.In both cases, at Mid-Carolina Marine in West Columbia and Captains Choice Marine in Leesville, thieves took only Yamaha motors.
If you have any information that could help investigators make an arrest, contact Crimestoppers in any of the following ways: Call 1-888-CRIME SC (888-274-6372), Text TIPSC plus your tip info to CRIMES (274637), visit www.midlandscrimestoppers.com and email a tip. Your identity will be kept anonymous, and if your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.