Two years ago we came to Abaco and found our dream home on the Casuarina beach. Beautiful water, friendly neighbors, a mix of Bahamians, North Americans, and Europeans. We have tried to become part of this community, doing what we can, especially helping the local VFD. As we’ve suffered through a bitter winter in New Jersey, our thoughts daily turned to Abaco and Casuarina. Because we’ve fallen in love with this beautiful place and our 2nd home here.
Last night that was shattered by a phone call: For the fourth time, an outboard motor was stolen off a Casuarina resident’s boat. The first three were from moored boats, but the fourth, ours, was in a locked area under our house. They broke in, brought tools to remove the security bolts, then smashed a hole big enough for a man to carry our outboard motor through. I gather Cherokee has also had a rash of motor thefts.
The police were called immediately and are doing what they can, but, so far there seems to be little evidence left behind by the thieves. There is hope and some leads, however, because I gather one of the Cherokee motors was recovered on an out-bound boat.
The thieves are clearly escalating in their boldness and invasiveness, stealing outboards with impunity. They have gone from stealing motors off moored boats to breaking and entering under our house. Nobody on the Casuarina beach or canal can feel safe that their boat won’t be targeted next. What is next? When the outboards are all gone, or secured, will they then turn to breaking into the houses themselves, as happened in Bahama Palm Shores, where 6 unoccupied homes were burglarized? These rings of thieves must be stopped or Abaco may well face the St. Croix syndrome: When crime was so uncontrolled on St. Croix that the cruise ships stopped coming, the island’s economy collapsed.
Yes, Abaco is different, because the cruise ships don’t come here, but Marsh Harbour, where recently a much larger boat was stolen, as reported in The Abaconian, can, too, quickly lose its attractiveness for tourists if they don’t feel safe here. It’s the last thing we all want.