Byline: Associated Press
BRANFORD, Fla. (AP) — They may have just wanted to make some waves and catch some rays. But converting a pontoon dock into a pontoon boat last month ended up getting two north Florida men in hot water.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers reported that 31-year-old Robert Lee Alvord and 30-year-old Kenneth Rehberg were charged with grand theft, accused of stealing parts to install a motor and a Jeep Cherokee chassis on a section of a pontoon dock.
“It generated quite a bit of interest on the river,” according to a statement from the commission.
An alert had been sent out to officers reporting the stolen pontoon dock, which had gone missing from a residence on the Santa Fe River several weeks earlier, according to the commission.
After an alert went out to wildlife officers, investigator Terrynce Bing said he realized he had conducted a safety inspection on the unusual craft a few days earlier, and the dock it was built on matched the description of the missing dock.
Bing had given a citation to the operator because the vessel was unregistered and was powered by an outboard motor. Officials said the men admitted taking the dock, after being questioned by wildlife officers.
The dock, worth between $400 and $600, was returned to its owner.
“This case is a great example of how the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office work together to solve cases in the area,” said Lt. Tim Kiss, Columbia County patrol supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
— A report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission was used in this article.