Middle Keys marine gear stolen from several houses

This time of year brings the usual to the Keys: Cooler weather and the excitement over Thanksgiving and then the December holidays.

It also often brings, unfortunately, an uptick in crime, mostly theft, often involving marine merchandise.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said this week that lower units from four boat engines were reported stolen from two houses on Gulfstream Boulevard in Marathon. Two were from Yamaha 250 horsepower four-stroke engines and two were from a Yamaha 300. Lower units are where the engine and prop are.

At a third house, two propellers were stolen and someone attempted to remove the lower unit. At a fourth house, two lower units were stolen from 250 HP Mercury engines. On 75th Street oceanside, two lower units were reported stolen from 225 HP Yamaha four-stroke engines.

On Tingler Lane, a GPS was stolen from one boat; a second GPS was removed from a boat but was still attached by wires and not taken.

Deputy Becky Herrin said it's not clear when all the merchandise was taken but all reports came in Sunday. "Some people said within the last day or two, others said 'I haven't seen my boat since June,' " she said.

Anyone with information about these crimes should contact the Sheriff's Office at 289-2430. Callers can also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The hotline is (800) 346-TIPS.