LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. - The official start of summer is still a week away and people are already heading out to local lakes and rivers to cool off. The problem is, so are burglars.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office says they've already gotten multiple reports of boat prowlers at Newman and Liberty Lake.
Chris Anderson is one of those people who had his boat targeted by thieves.
"I was angry, you feel violated," Anderson said.
He got word from a friend earlier in the week that thieves had burglarized several boats along the shore of Liberty Lake. Little did Anderson know that his boat was one of them.
"I came out and checked my boat and sure enough, our amps and speaker were gone," said Anderson. "I'm sure it'll be several thousand dollars to get it all repaired."
Cut audio cables now have to be rewired, costing Anderson a few extra days he could be cruising on the lake. Instead, it'll be a few extra days in the repair shop trying to get everything fixed.
"It's such a nice place to live and you know we keep our boats out (on the lake) because it's easy and convenient," says Anderson. "But the flip side to that is I guess they are easy targets for people who want to rob us."
Deputy Mark Gregory of the Spokane County Sheriff's Office says thieves are exploiting warmer temperatures and targeting popular areas like lakes, rivers, and trailheads.
"What these criminals do is they look for any opportunity to steal anything that they either want or can turn around and go sell for cash," said Deputy Gregory.
He says lake neighbors must keep an eye out for each other, and report all suspicious activity. If you have a dock, keep it well lit.
"Light makes criminals look for a better target that is less easy for them to be seen," he says.
Deputy Gregory emphasizes the importance of keeping record of serial numbers and to mark all valuables with something unique, like your last name or even a symbol.
Anderson is taking those tips seriously and hopes his fellow boaters will too.
"This is really a wakeup call that, you know, there's a lot of people you can't trust."
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