Our dinghy engine and gas tank was stolen on Saturday while we were ashore getting dinner. We were really shocked. The dinghy looked somehow naked without the engine. It was very weird and very upsetting.
The guy untied the dinghy anchor line. (Yes, in 1 foot of water, he didn't just pick up the little anchor.) Then he got tools from his car, since the little tabs are broken off that help you unscrew it off the transom. Then he lugged the 20 hp engine into his car.
Very long story made short, they nabbed him trying to sell it Tuesday night to an undercover cop. You see, there was this "outboard wanted" ad on Craigslist, and the bad guy replied.
Wanted outboard -- 15 to 30 horsepower
He got charged with a Class E Felony, possession of stolen property in the 4th degree (value over $1,000). He'll likely plea it down to a misdemeanor, since it's his first bout with the law. Said the police in the area where it was stolen: We know the family, they've committed a lot of thefts. (They recognized the last name immediately.) I'll not name him on an open forum, although since he confessed, it's probably OK to do so.
[Edit: Edward Persico of Long Island, NY pled guilty, as mentioned later in this thread.]
It seems his brother works at a marina somewhere near Riverhead. This made him very smooth and convincing on the phone to the "buyer". (Yes, the detective let me hear a recording of the conversation.) He was 100% believable about how he was the original owner and how his brother did the maintenance on it. Very very smooth. Scarily smooth.
According to a cop friend, they probably could have charged him with another felony, Criminal Mischief, since he left us stuck on shore at night with no way to get to our boat. (It was a very windy weekend, which made the next day's paddling on a borrowed kayak less than easy.) We ended up staying overnight with relatives nearby.
I got to watch the arrest with the other family member who saw that it was stolen. It was exhillerating to get the engine back, and when they pulled the gas tank from the trunk of the bad guy's car, we cheered!