MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach police are searching for the thieves who have stolen 17 personal watercraft in the past two months.
It's unclear whether the same culprits are responsible for all of the thefts, but surveillance video from a Star Island home showed two men July 17 stealing a 2016 gray Yamaha wave-runner FX/SHO Series from the dock.
Another 2013 Yamaha wave-runner was reported missing June 22 from a rear floating dock on Rivo Alto Drive.
Two men were seen by a neighbor towing the wave-runner away, using a second wave-runner.
The thieves were seen heading north in the Maloy Channel.
Both thieves were described as white men between 25 and 30 years old with short brown hair.
One man was wearing bright orange shorts.
"Just last year alone, (the) Miami Beach Police Department arrested a ring of four individuals who went around doing the same thing," Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said. "At least two of the cases, there are similarities in some of our video surveillance and still images, and that is something our detectives are pursuing."
Police believe that the thieves are stealing the personal watercraft for the parts.
"They steal them for parts," marine patrol Officer Duane Rezende said. "They take their motors, they supe them up these days. They go 100 mph, some of them. When they blow the motors, they just go take yours, take your motor, put it in theirs and they normally ditch the rest of it."
Police said the 17 personal watercraft stolen are worth a total of about $250,000.
One victim, whose surveillance cameras captured the theft, said he was shocked by how long the thieves took to steal his personal watercraft without getting caught.
"They took like 25 minutes to take it from the dock, so it's just crazy," Andy Abreu said.
Detectives advise owners to lock their personal watercraft or install a GPS that alerts you when it is moving.
Anyone with information about the thieves' identities is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.