Texas Parks and Wildlife Marine Theft unit recovers 100 stolen boats

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Marine Theft Investigations Team, composed of nine game wardens, has recovered more than 100 stolen boats valued at roughly $800,000 during its first year in operation.

The Law Enforcement Division team works to combat boat theft, personal watercraft theft and related fraud, focusing on those duties a quarter of their time. The rest of their schedules includes regular game warden duties in their assigned areas, according to a news release.

Texas ranks in the top three states nationwide with low stolen boat recovery rates compared with vehicle thefts. Wardens in the unit have worked more than 200 boat registration fraud cases during the past year, according to the release.

“I am most proud that this team conducted over 390 case assists with other game wardens and law enforcement agencies,” said Col. Craig Hunter, TPWD Law Enforcement Division Director, in the release. “Successful law enforcement depends on teamwork — both internally and externally, and this program defines teamwork.”

The team has received specialized training and has provided marine theft training to hundreds of officers from other state agencies.

Information: Operation Game Thief hotline, 1-800-792-4263.

Will Leschper is founder of The Texas Outdoor Digest. He has been recognized for Excellence in Craft by the Outdoor Writers Association of America and the Texas Outdoor Writers Association. He is Conservation Editor of Texas Fish & Game Magazine and is a regular contributor to the Journal of the Texas Trophy Hunters, in addition to writing for plenty of of now-defunct publications.