When a St. John resident got his 135hp Honda outboard stolen off of his 20-foot AB inflatable which was parked near his Gifft Hill home, he had no idea of the unusual events about to unfold.
The motor was stolen on December 19, 2011, and after reporting the incident to the V.I. Police Department, the St. John man, who asked to not be identified, left island for a few days. He returned from a stateside visit on December 29, and made a few inquiries about his missing motor on St. Thomas.
“I was driving through Red Hook and saw a truck that had a ‘Honda repair’ sign on it,” said the resident. “I called the number and offered him a $3,000 reward. An hour later, the man called me back and asked for the serial numbers.”
“An hour after that, he called me again and said, ‘I think I found your motor,’” said the St. John resident. “We verified the serial numbers and over the next few weeks, I was getting the money together.”
While putting the reward money together, someone slashed the AB inflatable which was still being stored on land, explained the St. John resident.
“I realized there was a four-foot slice in the dinghy so I was over in the boat yard in St. Thomas getting it patched and I was talking to the Honda repair guy telling him I was getting the money together,” he said. “So I got the money together and told him to get the motor and we’d make the trade. He called me later that day and told me the guy who had it was off island now.”
“I was leaving the boat yard when someone else approached me and said they knew a woman who would shake him down and get me the motor,” said the St. John resident.
The Gifft Hill man called the number he was given and offered the woman on the other end of the line the reward money. The woman told him to get a trailer and meet him on St. Thomas, according to the resident.
“But then I was getting cold feet, so I called the police again,” he said. “They asked me if I had told anyone else about the stolen motor and I told them about the Honda repair man and the woman I called.”
A few days later, VIPD officers found the motor, explained the St. John resident.
“The motor was found by detectives at the Bridge to No Where on St. Thomas,” he said. “I identified it was mine with the serial numbers and description. The woman who I had talked to on the phone was there when the motor was found too.”
“I waited about a week and they didn’t charge anyone with the crime and they wouldn’t give me the motor until the case was solved,” he said.
The motor remains in the evidence room of the VIPD’s Callwood Command on St. Thomas as detectives continue to investigate the case, explained VIPD St. John Deputy Chief Darren Foy.
“The engine is being held as evidence in an ongoing investigation into who stole it,” said Foy. “Investigators discovered there were people involved who brought the motor to the location where it was found. There are leads being covered and hopefully in the near future an arrest will be made.”
“The motor is being held as evidence and if the owner doesn’t want the government to pursue the case, he has to contact the Attorney General’s office and request the investigation to stop and the motor to be released,” Foy said.
The St. John resident would like the case to be investigated, however, he does not feel like anything is being done, he explained.
“I gave them all the names they needed, so what would it take to go find the guy,” said the resident. “They say they need the motor as evidence for prosecution, but I don’t know what they’re doing to solve this case. The problem is that it seems like no one cares.”
The resident has been in contact with VIPD officials from the commissioner and chief to the media spokesperson, to no avail, he added.
“No one has gotten back to me and I don’t feel like anything is being done here,” he said. “This has left me with a sad feeling that people just don’t care. Gone are the fish fries and how people all got along and now it’s dog eat dog. I’m still hoping to meet with the commissioner, or a senator or anyone and get my motor back.”
The St. John resident can fill out a complaint form which is available in the VIPD’s Leander Jurgen Command in Cruz Bay about the incident, explained Foy.
“There is a complaint process if he wants to file a complaint or he can call the commissioner,” said Foy.