“They literally paddled away with them,” said Karen Chapel, owner of Lakeshore Kayak Rental, which is based at Felix’s Marina, 14023 Green St. “They just grabbed the boards and all the stand-up paddleboard equipment. They stomped through the cattails instead of using the launch. They left a big zigzag trail.”
Chapel said the fiberglass boards and carbon fiber paddles are expensive, high-quality equipment. She valued the total of the stolen equipment at about $10,000.
Missing are one green, two blue and three gray paddleboards with the brand name of SUP ATX, Chapel said.
“These are 11- and 12-foot boards," she said. "(They're) hard to hide."
Chapel said the theft was discovered Monday evening when they went to get some equipment out of a storage trailer.
“They broke the latch that was padlocked,” she said. “They couldn’t break the padlock we had on it, but they were able to remove the latch.”
Chapel said a $500 reward is being offered for information leading to the return of the equipment and for the perpetrators being brought to justice.
Chapel speculated that the group of thieves included females. She said women have better balance and are less likely to make a lot of noisy falls into the water.
“Predominantly, our renters are female,” she said. “They have the agility and ability to sneak away with a board much easier than a guy.”
At the same time, there are a lot of people in the area who paddleboard.
“If someone saw six paddleboards, I don’t think they would even blink,” Chapel said.
Chapel said the boards were taken sometime between Saturday night and early Monday afternoon. There were other things of value in the trailer, which were not taken, including life jackets.
Chapel asked anyone who saw anything or knows anything about the stolen paddleboards to call 911 or Silent Observer at 877-88-SILENT.
Chapel said they have improved security to keep track of the 50 kayaks and canoes they have at the rental site along the Grand River.
“It’s been a great year except for this,” she said. “We’ve been there five years. It’s the first time we’ve ever experienced anything like this.”