Two Barrie men try to evade arrest by jumping in the lake after attempted boat theft

A Barrie police boat sits docked in the City of Barrie marina. Police deal with boat theft in the area Photo by Joyce Nelson/Shutterstock

The marina in Barrie was the site of an unusual incident last week, when two men were caught attempting to steal a boat and jumped into Lake Simcoe, briefly swimming from the scene before being arrested.

Peter Leon, an official with Barrie police, said the two men, ages 71 and 33, were consuming alcohol and food on the boat and causing a disturbance. The ruckus alerted nearby boaters—one of whom happened to be the owner of the almost-stolen vessel—who then called police. “The individuals probably got wind of what was going on and decided to take the only step they could; to dive into the water and try to get away,” Leon said. The men swam a short distance before emerging, where police were waiting. 

Leon said it’s a rare incident in a typically secure City of Barrie marina, which requires a pass to enter. With boating season fully underway, he said it’s a good idea for boaters to brush up on security. A working lock system is a must, as well as disabling the boat’s operating mechanisms when docked, so someone can’t get in and drive off. 

Leon encouraged people to consider surveillance systems, which can be affordable and easy to install. “We do it for our homes, and for some people, their boat is their home during the summer months,” he said. “We have the beauty of being able to monitor activity electronically from a distance – that added security can give you extra peace of mind.” 

Many cottagers dock boats at their private residence and make frequent trips to nearby marinas, and Leon noted that it’s important to maintain the routine of taking valuables with you out of the boat each time, no matter how familiar the area. 

If theft does occur, he said it’s crucial to report it to the police service with jurisdiction in the area it took place. For much of rural cottage country that would be the Ontario Provincial Police. As with any incident, be sure to let police know as soon as possible, don’t touch or remove anything from the scene, and get the officer’s badge number and the occurrence number, which may be important for insurance purposes.

As always, Leon said it’s important to look out for your neighbours and fellow boaters throughout the season. “I’d rather err on the side of caution than somebody come up after working all week long, battling traffic, and get to their boat only to find that somebody’s broken into it or caused damage.”  

Featured Video