ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) - A day at the lake is turning sour for many boaters. In the last month, the Angelina County Sheriff's Office has taken numerous reports of stolen property from inside boats.
"The big deal is they are leaving their rods and reels and equipment loose in the boat," said Angelina County Sheriff's Capt. Alton Lenderman.
Since April 1, Lenderman and his detectives have taken reports for 101 rods and reels stolen. The reports also have tackle boxes and depth finders being listed as stolen pieces of property, totaling over $23,000. Jasper County Game Warden Justin Eddins said the same thing is happening in Jasper County but the numbers could be larger.
"I've had that experience, said angler Ryan Williams. "You know, you get up early in the morning and go to your boat, and everything is missing."
Because of that experience, Williams now takes everything off of his boat, including electronics.
"These electronics nowadays are very expensive," Williams said. "They're anywhere in the range between $2,000 and all the way up to $,4000 and $5,000 a piece."
One of the big issues is the lack of identifying numbers on much of the equipment.
"There is no way we can enter them into a computer, and if we find them in a vehicle sometimes, it is hard to confirm they have been stolen," Lenderman said. "You could scratch off your birthday or name into several places on the rod. That way, we have something that is marked when it comes to us. It is just like with car break-ins. You really don't want to leave those things in there when you are not with it."
"It is going to be really hard to catch that person that stole all your rods and reels because there are so many out there of the same brands," Williams said.
The sheriff's office is remaining vigilant as more people hit the area lakes, but the coverage area does cause problems.
"There are so many marinas and so many tournaments and stuff going on," Lenderman said. "There is no way we can consistently check it."