At least three outboard boat motors have been stolen in the Chetek area, two at a resort and one at a rental cabin and a Barron County Sheriff’s Department detective is investigating.
William Blue, owner of Lazy Acres Resort, said two of his best running boat motors were stolen; a 9.9 hp Evinrude and a 15 hp Johnson. He discovered and reported the thefts on Thursday, June 13.
Blue said whoever did it, went into his boathouse cut the gas lines and battery connections to one motor, and took the battery and gas tank to the other motor. He said a man keeping his boat at the resort also had four fishing rods and a tackle box stolen out of his boat.
While Blue suspected it happened at night, he said a deputy told him that thieves may go after motors during the day, when guests are out fishing.
“Never in 18 years, never had a thing stolen,” Blue said, who has now locked up his other motors. Blue said he wish he had a camera in the boathouse to see the person’s face.
“I feel violated. It makes you sad, but it’s just material stuff,” he said.
Blue said his insurance has covered the theft of the boat motors.
Another man at a cabin rental reported a 9.9 hp 2000 Mercury boat motor stolen from the east side of Lake Chetek on Friday, June 14, according to Barron County dispatch logs. The man said a padlock on the motor had been cut and was laying in the bottom of his boat.
Ben Nelson, owner at Watersmeet Resort on the Island, said he heard a car door slam Saturday morning. When he went out to look, two people quickly left in a tan or silver sedan. They didn’t take anything, but Nelson noticed a boat cover was flipped up on one of his boats.
While he wasn’t certain the people in the car were looking at the boat motor or were related to the thefts, he thought it was suspicious and reported it to the sheriff’s department.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said the boat motor thefts were an active investigation and a detective was assigned to the case.