PORT SALERNO, Fla. – Sheriff's detectives in Martin County, Fla., are investigating the theft of about 34 outboard engines, valued at nearly $200,000, from Lentine Marine this weekend, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported in a story this morning.
"We got pretty much cleaned out," business owner Louis Lentine told the Sun-Sentinel. "They made a real mess."
The thieves cut a hole in the fence and hot-wired a forklift to move some of the bigger 250-horsepower, 600-pound engines onto a truck, according to Lentine and a sheriff's report. They might have gotten more if the forklift hadn't run out of propane fuel, Lentine said.
Authorities say the thieves may have had an order to fill, and the engines may already be in a container on a ship bound for another country, the newspaper reported.
That scenario has played out at businesses and marinas across the area in recent years, although never before have so many motors been reported stolen at one time. In March, thieves stole about $100,000 worth of boat motors and a truck to haul them away at two other businesses in the area, according to the newspaper.
Lentine said several generators he had received into inventory for the hurricane season were also stolen.
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