“There’s a lot of them and they’re really expensive. So you can take a $300 to $400 combo of a reel and rod and go sell it at the pawn shop or sell it on the street for $150 – $200,” said Richards. “If you’ve got a lot of em’ you can make a lot of money.”
Police say that’s exactly what prompted 18-year-old Quincy Nathaniel Works to steal more than $13,000 in tackle from victims around the city.
“Initially it appeared that he was riding around looking for boats close to the road with rods sticking up in rod holders,” said Richards.
So investigators came up with a plan to set up a decoy boat not far off the beaten path complete with a game cam.
“Knowing that he was driving around looking for boats close to the road we asked a friend if we could use his boat and he pulled it in his front yard and we put two rods in his boat sticking up and put the camera in the tree pointing at the boat,” said Richards. “Just to see if we could get lucky.”
The plan worked. No sooner did investigators push play on the camera that they caught Works just nine hours later.
“We thought it was a shot in the dark,” said Richards. “We thought we may get lucky with it being on a main thoroughfare, but never expected it to happen that night in just a couple of hours from when we set it up.”
But luck was on their side. Works was charged for stealing the two reels from the decoy boat and for violation of probation.
The next task for authorities will be matching victims with their tackle.
“We have a lot of it that is not identified,” said Richards. “We think we still have victims out there that may not know they’re victims yet.”
If you do think you’re a victim in this case or you have discovered you are missing some fishing gear in the Port St. Joe area contact the Port St. Joe Police Department at 227-1414.
An 18-year-old Port St. Joe man is charged for the theft of more than $13 thousand in stolen fishing equipment. Port St. Joe police say last Sunday they took reports from victims who had high end fishing reels stolen from all over the city.
Saturday authorities took matters into their own hands and set up a decoy boat with decoy fishing rods. That boat was robbed and the reels were discovered missing this morning.
The effort led to the arrest of Quincy Nathaniel Works thanks to a camera mounted on the boat. Works was arrested on burglary charges and also had a previous warrant.
An investigation into search warrants lead to the recovery of more than 30 rods and reels and a compound bow and arrow. Investigators say they are still searching for more fishing equipment that has still not been recovered.