TAMPA — As Eric Wexler surfed the Web over the weekend, he saw something familiar: one of the kayaks stolen from his Clearwater home on Palm Island.
He called Tampa police and told them that local thieves were apparently trying to sell one of his boats on Craigslist.org.
He felt certain it was one of the two kayaks he reported stolen on Saturday because, like his boats, this one was bright yellow.
Also, he had removed the pedals and seats from the boats before they disappeared, and the ad said the kayak had no pedals and seat.
Acting on that evidence, police say, they turned to an undercover officer, who started corresponding with the online sellers by Internet and calling them on the cell phone, and set a trap.
Police say Michael Eldridge Dodge, 32, of 302 Harbour Place Drive and Jason Christopher Greene, 33, of 851 W Kennedy Blvd. agreed to sell Wexler's kayak to the undercover officer and arranged to meet him Monday on Harbour Island.
After the transaction, police arrested Dodge and Greene, and Wexler got his kayak back. Police say Dodge, already on probation for grand theft, now faces probation violation in addition to charges of grand theft, dealing in stolen property, using the Internet to commit a felony and using a cell phone to commit a felony.
Tuesday night, he was being held without bail in a Hillsborough County jail.
Greene was charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property. He also remained in jail Tuesday, with bail set at $5,000.
Two other kayaks turned up at the location of the sale, and police are trying to track down the owners.