Thief sails through tropical storm after stealing huge boat

by Adam Freeman

Florida police and the U-S Coast Guard are investigating a nearly impossible boat heist.

The thief swiped the boat from the River Pointe Marina near Tin City, but the Coast Guard found it about 30-miles off Cuba's coast.

Investigators are trying to figure out if the one man found on board the boat could have pulled off the heist alone.

At more than 40 feet long, 14 feet wide, and five stories high, you can't really call Bob Caco's sailboat an easy target to steal.

"You can't hide it. It's got to be somewhere. A 53 foot high mast - it's pretty hard to hide behind a tree," said Caco.

When Caco went to check on his boat Thursday morning it was no where to be found.

"Why would they take this boat? They can't hide it anywhere and the top speed is 6 mph! So we couldn't quite figure it out," said Caco.

So far investigators can't either.

The Coast Guard spotted the boat Sunday night about 30 miles north of Cuba.

Daniel Johns of Golden Gate Estates was the only man on board.

He's been arrested as investigators try to figure out if he had any help.

"It would be a difficult trip for one person to sail that boat," said Lieutenant Robert Bock of the Naples Police Department

It would be a difficult trip under normal conditions, but try sailing from Naples all the way to near Cuba while battling the effects of Tropical Storm Noel.

"A boat shouldn't even be out in that. But this fella, whoever he is, must have been desperate and he was out in it," said Caco.

Whether it was simply a joy ride or for other illegal activity still remains a mystery.

"At this point it would be speculation to say whether he was involved in narcotics trafficking or human trafficking," said Caco.

Coca says he doesn't need to know why it was stolen; he just wants to get back out on his boat.

"We're very anxious to get down there tomorrow to have a look at it and keep our fingers crossed that everything's all right," said Caco.

Naples police explained that Caco's boat suffered only minor damage.

As for the suspect, he's being held on a violation of probation charge right now, but is expected to be charged with grand theft.