Lack of lights trips up boat-theft suspect

A pre-dawn traffic stop of a towed boat that had no rear lights on the trailer ended in a grand-theft charge lodged against a Cutler Bay man Saturday on Key Largo.

The boat, a 2003 26-foot HydraSports with twin 200-horsepower outboards, was recovered by Deputy Vaughn O'Keefe of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office only about three miles from where it was taken.

Giovanny Lluis, who turned 39 on Monday, was booked on a felony count of theft over $20,000 and a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license. Lluis remained in the Monroe County Detention Center under a $51,500 bond Tuesday afternoon.

O'Keefe stopped Lluis' truck near mile marker 97 at 3:45 a.m. after seeing the trailer lacked functioning rear lights. The deputy then saw that neither the electric wiring harness nor safety tow chains were hooked to the truck.

"The license tag had duct tape on it, obscuring the numbers, and the trailer appeared to have been attached to the truck in a hurry," the Sheriff's Office says.

The boat owner, a Miami man, confirmed that no one had permission to move the $30,000 boat rig. It was taken from a Peace Avenue residence, on the Tavernier oceanside near mile marker 94.