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Date of Issue: October 21, 2009

High seas high-speed pursuit results in shot boat

By Paul Roat

A boat theft early Sunday resulted in two people eluding law enforcement officers and the shooting of an outboard engine to halt the chase.

According to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Scott Logan, two people stole a 30-foot Grady-White boat from Bimini Bay around 1:30 a.m. Oct. 18.

Officials with the Coast Guard, U.S. Customs, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and Longboat Key Police pursued the thieves in what Logan called a “10-minute high-speed pursuit” out of Bimini Bay into the Southwest Channel between Bean Point and Passage Key.

At some point the boaters jumped off in what was estimated at 4- to 6-foot seas while pushing the boat up to full throttle at a speed estimated at 35 mph.

Law enforcement officers shot the engine with a .12-gauge shotgun. Which agency did the actual shooting was unclear at Islander presstime.

A search for the two suspects continued Sunday, including use of the Coast Guard helicopter and by boat, although items found onshore indicated the pair made it ashore, but they were not located.