Photo courtesy of Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.

Suspected boat thief runs aground, is rescued, arrested

A man is in custody after allegedly stealing a boat and running aground on a sandbar.

At 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, an Englewood resident reported that his 23′ Big Bay Parker boat was missing from his dock, according to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.

Just 30 minutes later, other boaters contacted the victim saying there was a boat stuck on a sandbar near Stump Pass Marina. The victim confirmed it was his boat through photos.

Photo courtesy of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.

The witnesses saw a man identified as 35-year-old Bruce Donohew of North Port, trying to free the boat. When law enforcement arrived, they took Donohew into custody. Donohew said he was in the water for several hours and was taken to the hospital, according to the sheriff’s office.

Three other boats located at the Freedom Boat Club on Placida Road showed evidence of tampering such as damaged ignition systems and cut wires, according to the sheriff’s office. The boats were also untied.

An additional boat at 2202 Placida Road showed damage from attempted theft, said the sheriff’s office.

Detectives spoke with Donohew at the hospital where he gave a statement after hearing his Miranda rights, according to the sheriff’s office. Detectives learned Donohew was on house arrest and not wearing his ankle monitor.

When cleared by medical staff, Donohew was arrested and charged with grand theft and violation of probation.

Upon his medical clearance, Donohew was arrested and charged with Grand Theft and Violation of Probation, said the sheriff’s office.

Writer:Emily Luft
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