06/12/12 (Syracuse)  Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating the theft of a boat from its slip on Lake Wawasee on Friday June 8th, 2012.  Officer Jerry Hoerdt was on boat patrol at 10:30pm when he witnessed a boat traveling at approximately 30mph speeding across the lake.  Officer Hoerdt followed the boat with his emergency lights activated for some distance before the suspect boat came to a stop in the area of Enchanted Hills.  Hoerdt identified the operator as a 14 year old juvenile accompanied by a 13 year old passenger.

The two juveniles admitted to stealing the boat at around 8:00pm from the Enchanted Hills area to take it for a “joy ride”.  The boat appeared to be undamaged despite the juveniles reckless operation.  Hoerdt obtained adult guardianship information for each juvenile and summoned them to the public boat ramp to pick up their children.  The youths now face charges of theft and will be summoned into the Kosciusko County probation department to answer for this incident.  The owner of the boat was located on Sunday June 10th ,2012 in Nappanee at his residence and advised of the incident.   Indiana Conservation Officers want to remind boat owners that there are some helpful tips that if followed can lessen the likelihood of you having your boat or property stolen.  Never leave the keys in or on your boat.  If it is absolutely necessary to leave your key onboard the boat store it in a combination lock box and only give out the combination to trusted persons. Disconnect one or both battery terminal cables when finished with your outing.  If your keys do fall in the wrong hands, a would be thief may not think to check the battery if they try unsuccessfully to start it up.

There are other helpful hints to help protect your boat and property from theft such as;

  • Insure your boat registration is up to date and properly displayed.  This can help officers quickly locate a stolen boat through a BMV records check.
  • Photograph your boat and property
  • Permanently etch or engrave your name onto your property
  • Record your property’s identifying information such as make, model, serial number, etc.
  • Remember “out of sight, out of mind”, securely store your valuables out of plain view
  • Purchase insurance if possible for your boat and property

Neighbors helping neighbors on the lake is also a good motto to live by.  Stay aware and be vigilant of any suspicious activity or unfamiliar persons in or around your neighbors boats.  More helpful tips and information on how to protect your boat from theft can be found by visiting www.BoatSafe.com.  To report a theft of your boat or to report suspicious activity call your Indiana Conservation Officers dispatch at 1.812.837.9536 or your local law enforcement agency.

Indiana Conservation Officers also investigated a disturbance at a Lake Wawasee home in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 9th and arrested 10 minor aged adults and 1 juvenile for minor consumption.  Officer Jerry Hoerdt and Cpl. Ashlee Jackson were on boat patrol at approximately 2:00am searching for impaired boat operators when they heard loud voices coming from across the lake.   Officers  observed a large gathering of persons both in the water and on shore.  Officers witnessed several persons who appeared under the age of 21 consuming alcohol and swimming in deep water.

Concerned that the underage drinkers who were swimming may be a danger to themselves from drowning, the officers entered the property located at 9890 Bayshore Dr. Syracuse, Indiana which is located on the southwest corner of the lake.  Officers located several minors both in the home and across the street in a separate living area who had been drinking.  There were numerous beer, wine, and vodka bottles littered throughout the yard and the home.  The identities of the 10 minor aged adults who were jailed are as follows:

Name                                              Age           Residence

James C. Wallin                           20          Carmel, Indiana

Tommaso A. Verderame          18          Greenwood, Indiana

Melissa R. Sondhi                         19           Carmel, Indiana

Jarred E. Scott                              20           Noblesville, Indiana

Grace A. Kennedy                       19          Indianapolis, Indiana

Christopher P. Callahan            19          Indianapolis, Indiana

Ian B. Frey                                      19          Indianapolis, Indiana

Emily E. Eiteljorg                          19          Indianapolis, Indiana

Carey S. Kunz                                  19          Zionsville, Indiana

Samuel M. Amy                             19          Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana Conservation Officers patrol the waterways to ensure that everyone enjoys the states’ resources responsibly and safely.   Officers use education, service, and enforcement to get the word out on water safety throughout the year.  Officers want to remind the recreational users of the waterways that mixing the consumption of alcohol with boating and swimming can lead to potentially tragic outcomes.  Indiana is part of a national campaign entitled Operation Dry Water which takes place June 22-24 that encourages alcohol free recreational use by the public in and around the water.  You can learn more about Operation Dry Water by visiting www.operationdrywater.org and you can take the “pledge” to commit to alcohol free enjoyment of your water based fun and activities this summer.  As always Indiana Conservation Officers want all users of our lakes, rivers, and privately owned ponds to wear your life jacket whenever your near the water.  For more information on water safety please contact your local Indiana Conservation Officer by calling the dispatch center at 1.812.837.9536.