A distress signal is likely to result in charges for four West Kelowna men after police discovered the boat they were stranded on was stolen.
At 3:45 a.m. on Monday, a Peachland resident spotted two signal flares fired from a point off Beach Avenue in Peachland.
The concerned resident called RCMP who then contacted Peachland Fire/Rescue and, with the resident’s help, West Kelowna RCMP directed the Fire/Rescue craft on a search pattern to located the stranded ski boat, finding four drunk men on board.
“The boat had a tow rope wound around the prop and was unable to move,” said Const. Steve Holmes, RCMP spokesman, in a press release issued Wednesday. “As the rescue craft towed the vessel to shore in Peachland, RCMP were advised to remain due to the male’s suspicious behaviour.”
Upon speaking with the young men, police soon discovered none of the men owned the boat which, it turned out, had been stolen from a slip at a West Kelowna marina, along with a number of items pilfered from other boats.
The four men—aged 20,22,23 and 24—were arrested and released on a promise to appear in court where they will likely be charged with possession of stolen property over $5000.
Police are urging boat owners to treat their boats as they would their vehicles:
1) Do not hide the key on board the boat. There is no such thing as a “secret hiding spot” to a determined thief.
2) Secure or remove any items from the boat that you do not want stolen.
3) Ensure your boat is registered so that Police can trace it to you if it is stolen.