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Trio charged with Grand Theft of boat

A trio has been charged with grand theft with police saying they stole a deck boat and sold parts out of their Cortez Village home.

Representational image.

It started early last week when a 2015 Sportsman 247 deck boat was reported to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office as missing. With the aid of video surveillance from businesses in the vicinity, detectives saw the boat towed by a Ford F-150 and a Toyota Tacoma following closely behind.

The police entered the boat into a stolen property database and the very next day Manatee County Sheriff’s located the boat half sunk and stripped of much of its equipment, according to reports.

The Sarasota detectives then saw the identical Toyota Tacoma from the video camera parked at the house next to the victim.

Adding to the investigation, Manatee County Sheriff’s learned that Edward J. Smith was allegedly selling the boat parts from his Cortez Village home.

Both counties joined forces and kept an eye on Smith’s home and soon saw the Tacoma and F-150 both parked at that location. A judge issued a search warrant and that is when the stolen boats parts were located and recovered.

Police learned that in addition to Smith, Robert Michael and Kasandra Giddings were both involved as drivers of the vehicles.

Giddings confessed to the detectives her role as driver in the theft of the Tacoma and said that the two men had towed and stripped the boat and already sold some of the parts.

Police are looking into another incident of a stolen boat that was also submerged at a boat ramp in east Bradenton.

The investigation into that theft is ongoing and the trio is facing grand theft charges with Smith still at large.

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