Join Date: Apr 2006
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I know I posted a reply to you folks yesterday, it looks like the tired old Sailnet web server ate my homework.
What recourse you have will depend on how you documented the sale & if you put a formal lien on the boat...I hope you did.
I'm not sure about the correct legal charges, they will vary with how you worded your sale contract. Could just be a loan default, could be grand larceny or theft, and when that involves a motor vehicle and and amount over $10k(?) it also allows federal prosecution. So, ask your local, county, state, and federal DA or AG about what charges can be filed--and FILE THEM PROMPTLY. If those offices disagree about wha the charges can be, pursue all options.
Skip tracers can be good, but use the free options as well if you can. Contact the USCG, they have many eyes and ears and they will have the name and description of your boat out to every patrol within 24 hours. A friend of mine was overdue inbound from the USVI some years ago and I called the local USCG station, not knowing how to prepare for a possible "missing vessel" report. Inside of ten minutes they had me connected by phone to the station nearest the departure port (where they were going to check each marina to find out IF they had departed on time) and they had faxed me full papers to fill out in case a formal search was necessary.
(Turned out to be storm problems, they showed up on the 14th day of a "We'll make land in 10 days, 14 at the far outside, then we're missing at sea" float plan.)
But the USCG response in anything like this is incredibly efficient.
That boat could well be out of the country by now, every day counts. The USCG can probably also give you contact information for the nations where it might already be. Run the numbers, time since they left Burnt Island times five knots, run that out on a map and contact "the law" in all those places. It only gets larger every day you wait.
Unless they are adrift at sea "We couldn't find a phone" doesn't carry much weight these days.
If they previously paid you by check or something else you deposited? Find your copy, or get a copy from your bank, that name/account information may be useful for the authorities (or you) to trace on them also. In theory (don't believe too much CSI) there may be fingerprints on your copy of the sale papers, that can also be used to identify them. Carefully place the docs in a paper bag to preserve them, make copies to show the authorities rather than having everyone paw over them first.
Last edited by hellosailor; 09-22-2006 at 12:29 PM.