LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — Last weekend, a Ring camera video posted to Twitter by the Missouri State Highway Patrol showed unknown boaters allegedly cutting a water trampoline loose from a Lake of the Ozarks dock, and attempting to steal it. The alleged attempted theft took place on June 27.

The would-be thieves can be heard saying, "There's a camera right there," in the video posted to Twitter. They abandoned the endeavor, the Patrol says, but many Lake of the Ozarks dock owners haven't been so lucky. In the past week or so, there have been numerous reports of thefts from docks between the 31 and 35 mile markers, according to Patrol. Items that have been stolen include 15 kayaks, swim pads, fishing gear and a few other easily removed objects like a Yeti cooler. Thefts from both private docks and condominiums have been reported.

“We think that some of these thefts are connected,” said MSHP Sergeant Scott White. “We’re looking at the fact that there may be several different people involved.”

Police arrested one person this morning related to some of the cases near the 35 mm. It was made possible with information put out on social media.

Anything that is stored or tied down on docks and in boats can be a target for theft, White said. Their goal is to get in, grab something, and leave quickly. The Patrol is also investigating one boat theft early this summer, which White says is a more rare occurrence.

“Three factors are very important,” White said. “It’s time, noise and visibility. Do they have the time to do it? And if they do, will it create a bunch of noise? If they commit that crime, are they within view of other people?”

Dock owners can protect their gear by locking items up, removing equipment, keeping records of serial numbers - kayaks especially - and having a camera on the dock. Anything that can take time to make a theft harder is beneficial for the police and owners.

“Make sure you can identify your equipment, photograph it, videotape it and just have a record of it,” White said.

Dock theft is nothing new at the Lake. In 2017, the Patrol reported a rash of wintertime thefts in which thieves were pulling a jon-boat underneath a boat that was on a lift, and un-bolting the entire lower-unit, making off with propeller, driveshaft and all.

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