Saturday, February 24, 2018
Public safety

Deputies: Man stole boat, forged signatures when repair shop closed

HOLIDAY — In March 2010, Arthur Wilson dropped off his fishing boat at Pirate Marine and Salvage to have the carburetors fixed. It would be the last time he saw the boat in one piece.

Wilson said part of the repair would be an exchange of a favor. He had fixed a T-top sun cover for a Pirate Marine employee's boat and said they could square up the difference when he brought in his boat for a repair.

Workers called him that July to tell him the repairs were done. Wilson said he waited a few weeks to pick up the boat because his business had been broken into and some of his family members were sick.

"I left the boat over there a little too long," he said.

When he finally came to get his boat, Pirate Marine, at 1437 U.S. 19, was closed and boarded up. His boat had vanished.

Wilson, 63, said he tried to track down his unnamed boat for a few weeks in 2010. But after getting no leads he gave up.

He continued to pay Wauchula State Bank $300 a month for the $7,000 boat, which was uninsured.

"It's not (the bank's) problem,'' he said. "It's mine.''

On Oct. 25, he called the bank to check on his loan. He found the boat had been retitled to Pirate Marine employee Gregory Russell and that Russell had forged satisfaction of the lien and power of attorney and sold the hull, engine and trailer to three different people, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report.

Deputies arrested Russell, 46, of 16433 Ashington Lane in Spring Hill, on Thursday and charged him with forgery and dealing in stolen property.

He remained in the Land O'Lakes jail Friday in lieu of $15,000 bail.

Wilson said he intends to pick it up but first must buy a new trailer.

Asked when he'll have the boat in the water again, he replied, "Who knows?"

Alex Orlando can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

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