Trio charged in Lower Keys boat theft

More charges are expected against a trio of people who reportedly were caught taking a 2005 flats boat from a Lower Keys construction company.

The three were caught after a local resident called police, saying their actions were suspicious. Charged Monday with burglary, possession of burglary tools, criminal mischief and loitering are John Hayden, 38, of Bunnell, Fla.; Michelle Burrell, 26, of Key West; and Demetrius Randley, 35, of Summerland Key 

Becky Herrin, spokeswoman for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, says the resident who called in the alleged crimes was returning home at 1:30 a.m. and saw what he deemed a suspicious vehicle towing a boat from the Charley Toppino and Sons property on Rockland Key. He said it caught his eye because the vehicle was driving fast and was coming out of a gate that was usually locked, Herrin said.

He followed it and called the Sheriff's Office and watched the auto pull into the Circle K store on Big Coppitt Key, but it pulled out again onto U.S. 1 heading north. Florida Highway Patrol Trooper McGlynn stopped it at mile marker 20 with help from Deputy Jorge Prince. The witness then returned to Toppino property to give his information to Deputy Darren Jenson.

Evidence found there indicates someone cut locks on the gate, on a tool shed and in another area of the property where the boat had been stored.

Herrin said when pulled over by the trooper and deputy, "They gave inconsistent statements," with Hayden saying the boat owner told him to take it because it needed to be worked on.

Boats burglarized in Marathon

Seven boats kept at Shelter Bay Marine on Coco Plum Drive in Marathon were burglarized of electronics and fishing gear overnight Thursday into Friday, the Sheriff's Office said.

Such thefts can be avoided or minimized if you simply remove your gear from your boat when not using it.