FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Investigators now suspect a Panhandle robbery could potentially be linked to crimes across Florida.
More than $150,000 worth of electronic and GPS boating systems were taken from a dozen or so boats at Scipio Creek Marina in Franklin County.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, authorities said someone broke into Scipio Creek Marina and stole high end electronics.
The sheriffs office is now looking at similar crimes that have occurred across the state, one of which happened in Pensacola just last week.
“Most likely these people have been in the system before, I doubt anybody that’s doing this is their first time. They’re probably seasoned career criminals, the kind of people that need to be in prison and out of our society,” said Franklin County Sheriff, A.J. Smith.
Authorities said the equipment stolen is how many families make a living.
“These are not just people that go out on the weekends. The electronics belong to people who are using this as a way to feed their family,” said Sheriff Smith.
Charter Boat Captain, David Fowlkes said he had thousands of dollars worth of equipment stolen from his boat which continues to impact him financially.
And could continue to impact him in the future.
“Everyday that I’m not fishing, I can lose $400-$1,200 a day,” said Fowlkes.
“I think everyone knows Red Snapper Season starts on June 1st and I need my electronics to be able to do my job offshore,” said Fowlkes.
Since reopening his business, Fowlkes has had to pull out of his reserves.
“I was lucky enough to have three or four trips now that things are starting to ease and open back up. All the money i’ve made has now gone to replacing the equipment I lost to keep my business,” said Fowlkes.
These criminals would face severe charges, including burglary and second degree theft over $100,000.
There is a $20,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest. You can remain anonymous. But the Franklin county sheriff’s office asks if anyone has any information or video surveillance to contact them directly.