*Update* A source has indicated that the boat’s owner WILL be attending the court date set for this month.
Three suspects who were caught red handed on a stolen vessel on June 20, 2015 appear to be about to go free on a curious technical issue when their court case is heard on August 18.
The owner of the white 34 foot Jupiter Boat that was stolen and the care taker of his property in Abaco are not able to attend the upcoming court date. Legally if the aggrieved property owner does not attend then the case will be dismissed.
By law, the plaintiff in the case may make a request for a different court date providing the magistrate agrees that the excuse is valid. It is uncertain at this point whether the case will be delayed or dismissed.
With the seriousness and extent of boat thefts in the area, Member of Parliament Renardo Curry petitioned for assistance in the House of Assembly and later attended a Boat Theft and Security Meeting held by the Abaco Chamber of Commerce, Marine Operators of the Bahamas (MOB), Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF), Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), Ministry of Tourism and other community stakeholders to discuss ideas to help curb the thefts.
One major issue that was unanimously agreed on that needed to change was sentencing and punishment for boat thieves. The typical punishment for a convicted boat thief is six months to seven years or a couple hundred dollar fine depending on the Magistrate’s discretion. Those at the meeting agreed legislation needs changing to include stiffer penalties to discourage would-be thieves.
Delan Edgecombe, Dave Thurston and Rashad Fox were captured by police after they attempted to abandon the 34 foot Jupiter boat in an attached dinghy on June 20, 2015 when police caught up with the stolen vessel. Three others were able to escape before the others were caught.
The three suspects were arraigned on Monday 22nd June, 2015 charged for Stealing and receiving. On the same day, another suspect – Edgar Pinder of Murphy Town – was arrested in reference to Stealing and Receiving. He was charged for the offences.