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A Tampa man stole a truck that was pulling Sea-Doos. Helicopters pursued, deputies say.

A family was washing their Sea-Doos at the Dunedin Marina when a man jumped in their truck and took off with their personal watercraft.
Booking photo of Jack Curtis, accused of jumping into a running truck in Dunedin and stealing it, pulling two Sea Doos valued at $30,000 behind him. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
Booking photo of Jack Curtis, accused of jumping into a running truck in Dunedin and stealing it, pulling two Sea Doos valued at $30,000 behind him. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
Published Jan. 16
Updated Jan. 16

As a family was cleaning their Sea-Doos at the Dunedin Marina, a thief ran up to their truck, jumped in and took off pulling two of the family’s Sea-Doos in a trailer behind him.

The incident prompted a law enforcement pursuit over two counties in which helicopters from two agencies were used to track the thief and eventually take him into custody, an arrest affidavit states.

The suspect, Jack Curtis, 39, of Tampa, was recently booked in to the Pinellas County jail in connection with the incident. He faces a felony charge of grand theft.

Related: Pinellas man caused crash that sent boat flying. It’s his fourth DUI, troopers say.

The incident occurred on July 21 when a 41-year-old man and his family had just returned to the marina, 150 Marine Plaza, and were washing their Sea-Doos. Their truck was running and two Sea-Doos were on a trailer attached to the truck, the affidavit states.

Suddenly, a man ran up to the truck, jumped in and drove away. Pinellas sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene.

The two Sea-Doos attached were a 2019 Sea-Doo GTX Limited and a 2019 Sea-Doo Wake Pro 230. They have a combined value of about $30,000, deputies noted in a report, while the trailer had a value of about $3,500.

At the scene, the Sea-Doos’ owner quickly called the Dodge You Connect System, and deputies on scene learned that the stolen vehicle could be tracked with GPS.

An operator with the Connect System told deputies that the truck was currently on the Howard Frankland bridge. Deputies summoned their helicopter, which located the truck heading north on Interstate 275.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office helicopter was called and took over the pursuit. At some point, the truck turned east onto Interstate 4.

Related: What happened to the couple whose boat sank near John's Pass? They set off on another adventure.

Deputies on the ground eventually took Curtis into custody with a canine unit, though the Sea-Doos were not immediately found.

A Pinellas deputy interviewed him after his arrest, and Curtis admitted to stealing the truck and told the deputy an “approximate location” of the Sea-Doos, which were then recovered, the deputy wrote in an affidavit.

Related: One of the world’s biggest yachts is docked in St. Petersburg

Curtis was booked into the Hillsborough County jail on multiple charges. He spent about two months in jail before being released and receiving probation, records show.

Meanwhile, deputies in Pinellas County gathered their evidence against Curtis and presented the case to a judge. A warrant for grand theft was issued for him on Dec. 2. He was arrested in Hillsborough County on the warrant on Jan. 8, then was transferred to the Pinellas County jail this week.

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An assistant public defender has been appointed to represent him and a not guilty plea has been entered on his behalf, court records show.

Bail was set at $20,000 and records show Curtis was being held at the jail Thursday.

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