According to reports, the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) have made some headway in breaking a boat theft ring in Abaco after making several arrests near the end of August.
The men detained are suspected of stealing over a dozen vessels on the island and are, according to one source, repeat offenders.
According to a source who spoke with “The Tribune Newspaper,” one man from Sandy Cay, two from Cherokee, and two others from Marsh Harbour were taken into police custody following investigations by a special task force.
According to the Officer in Charge of the Abaco Distict, Superintendent Hilton Cash, the police arrested six persons recently.
“So far the police have arrested six persons and three were arraigned before the Magistrate’s Court at Marsh Harbour on charges of stealing and Receiving, originating from these incidences,” Mr. Cash said.
He added that “one young man pled guilty on a recent matter and was sentenced to two years imprisonment. He also pled guilty to a previous matter and was sentenced to three years imprisonment to run concurrently.”
The remaining two men were remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correction in New Providence awaiting trial.
Mr. Cash said that the police are presently searching for four young men who are suspects in additional matters.
“The police wish to assure the public that they will continue to vigorously address all acts of criminality on the island of Abaco,” he said.
Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Emrick Seymour confirmed earlier in August that several arrests of persons suspected of being involved in a boat theft ring had been made.
He also revealed that a task force comprised of officers from Grand Bahama, Abaco and Bimini had been assembled to investigate the thefts.
The boat theft issue has been a longstanding problem and has resulted in a number of concerned Abaco residents feeling that not enough is being done by the police in Abaco to catch the perpetrators when the reports were initially made.
Residents fear the thefts will drive visiting boaters away and hurt the island’s tourism sector, and are calling for more urgent attention to the problem.
Based on some reports approximately 17 boats were stolen in a six-week period between July and August, and although nearly all boats were recovered, the engines were missing.
Residents had threatened to take matters into their own hands if something was not done soon to stop the thefts. They said in their view not enough police resources are available to deal with patrolling Abaco and its many cays.