Boat motor thefts occur on island, gas barrels found stashed on Cayo Costa

sheriff star copy■ STAFF REPORT

A Naples man was arrested on Wednesday, May 11 after hundreds of gallons of gasoline were found in barrels off the coast of Lee County.

Deputies received information about stolen boats and fuel being stored on Cayo Costa, and it led to the discovery of 345 gallons of fuel on the island. A total of 23 15-gallon fuel barrels were found.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Kendell Wisely and Lieutenant Chris Nyce transported U.S. Border Patrol agents to set up surveillance in order to document and record suspicious activity of a criminal and illegal nature.

The agents observed fresh drag marks in the sand where fuel drums had been dragged from their hidden location in the woods down to the water line, indicating that the drums had been removed from the area by boat.

At approximately 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Wisely observed a center console boat traveling south along the shoreline of Cayo Costa. The vessel appeared to have come from the direction of Boca Grande Pass.

The operator of the vessel was Yadian Guiterrez-Pinero, 30, of Naples. Guiterrez-Pinero gave verbal consent for Wisely to search his vessel. Sgt. Wisely observed a Garmin Global Positioning System (GPS) and was clearly able to see several track lines on the GPS that led directly to the shore line of Cayo Costa when the fuel drums were located. Wisely located a black 10-gallon plastic drum inside a compartment of the front deck of Guiterrez-Pinero’s vessel. Guiterrez-Pinero had the same type of illegal fuel barrel on his boat.

Based on the investigation, Guiterrez-Pinero was charged with loitering/prowling and carriage of gasoline on a vessel that was equipped with a drum designed to hold gasoline that did not conform to federal regulations or had been approved by the United States Coast Guard.

Guiterrez-Pinero is being held in the Lee County Jail without bond on two violations of probation charges.

On the island, an outboard motor was reported missing on a vessel at the 300 block of Gulf Blvd. around 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 12.

Due to recent thefts of outboard motors to vessels on the island, Lee County Sheriff’s deputies were performing directed patrol looking for locations of unoccupied vessels.

One island deputy observed a blue Yellowfin parked at a residence on Gulf Blvd. and noticed the vessel did not have an outboard motor attached to it. Upon further investigation, The deputy confirmed that the power and fuel lines had been cut.

According to reports the deputy made contact with the owner of the vessel, who confirmed it had been parked on the property since April 10, 2016. The owner confirmed the vessel did have a grey 2012 Yamaha 300 outboard motor on it and estimated it was worth $20,000.

The owner expressed his intentions to prosecute if the criminal is caught.

Not an isolated incident

During the evening hours between May 11 and May 12, someone stole a part of the livelihood of one of our local captains, and authorities are still seeking tips from anyone who might have witnessed anything suspicious.

The motor was stolen from a trailered boat parked on Harbor Drive, just south of the Pink Elephant on Boca Grande Bayou. It is a 300 HP black Mercury Verad, serial number 2B129646.

If you know anything about either of these crimes or saw anything strange in the evening hours between May 11 and May 12, or if you have any information about the missing 2012 Yamaha 300 outboard motor, please call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 964-2400.