Two kayaks stolen, vandalism at Dias Landing

By Angie Hilsman | Jun 20, 2017
Photo by: Steve Melo

Officials are pondering next steps after a town kayak rack was vandalized and two high-end kayaks were stolen on June 16.

Dartmouth Harbormaster Steve Melo said two kayaks were stolen and the wooden rack that housed them at Dias Landing was destroyed sometime between 9 p.m. that night and 9 a.m. the next morning. There are currently no leads on the incident, and with the busy season fast approaching, the Waterways Department is sort of stumped for a next move.

According to Melo, the wooden rack holds 60 watercrafts, and residents can chain their vessels to the four-by-four frame. But 15 of those spaces were destroyed, as thieves broke the framework and took the boats with the locks still attached.

"It's like chaining it to a tree, and someone cuts down the tree," explained Melo. "They broke the wood. Ripped off pieces. They didn't unbolt the stuff. It was smashed."

Melo said the perpetrators most likely came by land. He said the lack of street lights, and lessened traffic due to the causeway construction make the end of Gulf Road an easy target.

"You don't just put a kayak in a trunk. I think there had to be some planning," he hypothesized.

Melo was out around the aforementioned time span to check on boats among a strong southerly wind and rain when he noticed the damage, he said. A police report was filed by Officer Paul Arruda on Saturday morning, said Melo.

Residents pay a $50 yearly fee to store their kayaks and dinghies at the landing, and sign a contract which releases the town from any liability for damage or theft, said Melo.

Melo said that the owners provided the model and serial numbers for their watercrafts along with the signed contract. He said that information can help identify the kayaks.

"I'll do something. I'm just not sure yet how to address it," said Melo, considering the upcoming boating season, which includes a Junior Regatta and the Buzzards Bay Regatta.

The wooden rack was built by the Waterways Department in 2007. Prior to that, residents left their boats "scattered on the sand in no designated order," said Melo. Melo added that he'd prefer the vehicle racks be built of metal, but not only is that more costly, but the marine environment wears faster on that material.

"We always caution people, but until this point, [the landing] has proven to be a reliable, secure storage area,” Melo said.

Since the racks were built, Melo said he’s seen two or three individual robberies, but the vehicles were either unlocked or locks were cut. What's surprising about this incident is the extent of vandalism, he said.

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