FORT MYERS, Fla. - Ten suspects are set to face arraignment Wednesday in a three year rash of boat thefts across Southwest Florida. Two more suspects are still on the run and considered to be fugitives.
At least 14 luxury boats were taken from Saint Pete to Marco Island. investigators say the boats ended up in Mexico.
News of the arrests is coming as relief for some of the victims.
"I just couldn't believe it, that it happened, because I thought I'd taken all kind of safety measures," said David Stenberg of St. James City. He was out of town the day his 33-foot hydrasport disappeared from its dock last May.
Neighbor Terry Ashby was the one who noticed it was missing.
"If somebody can come in and steal a boat that big in the night and nobody see it, it makes me wonder what we're living in here," Ashby told WINK News during an interview in May.
Investigators say Stenberg's boat wasn't the first to disappear in the ring. the thefts began in Naples in June of 2007, and soon escalated to 14 stolen boats from Collier County to Pinellas County.
Federal authorities say the dozen suspects targeted luxury vessels at waterfront homes, taking them from their docks and across the Gulf to Mexico.
"I would like to know what happened, I had some personal things on the boat that can't be replaced," Stenberg said.
A task force of 22 agencies investigated the missing boats over three years, even stopping several more thefts.
Investigators say nine of suspects are from Collier County. Each of them now faces up to 95 years in prison.
"I hope the justice system will work," Stenberg said.
Authorities are still looking for Paez Reyes and Pereda Montesino. Anyone with information is asked to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement at 866-DHS-2-ICE.