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Elgin County OPP Boat Stolen and Set on Fire
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Update June 27, 2014: The Elgin County OPP Marine Unit will be back in service today after receiving a loaner vessel from the OPP's training fleet in Orillia. The vessel is the same as the one that was stolen and torched earlier this week, a 24 foot Sea Swirl 5.7L inboard/outboard. The replacement boat is equipped with enhanced security features and will be back in action this afternoon.

Elgin County OPP Detachment will have the loaner vessel until the fall when it will be returned to the training fleet. The procurement process for a replacement vessel has already begun, however a permanent replacement vessel will not be available until next season.

"I certainly want to thank the public and the business sector in their show of support during this incident. We have received numerous calls offering assistance and the use of personal and businesses boats to ensure that we were able to maintain our ability to respond to marine emergencies. I am pleased to announce that we have secured a police vessel for use during this boating season and it will be business as usual. Marine safety and security is our top priority out on the waterways we police. We continue to work closely with our partners at the Auxiliary Coast Guard and local fire departments to provide marine safety, security and rescues services out on Lake Erie," stated Staff Sergeant Greg Dafoe, Elgin County OPP Operations Manager.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident and have transported the burned out hull of the police boat to the OPP Forensic Identification Unit in Tillsonburg for examination by both police and investigators from the Fire Marshalls office.

Elgin County OPP Crime Unit members are continuing to identify and speak to potential witnesses. In particular we are looking to speak to a man and woman who were observed seated on a bench around 6:00 a.m. at the fishermen's memorial on the east side of the lift bridge in Port Stanley.

Any person with information regarding the person(s) responsible for this crime should immediately contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or 519-631-2920, or their nearest police authority.

Original Media Release Date June 25, 2014

Elgin County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is currently investigating the theft of the Elgin OPP Police Boat from Stan's Marina in Port Stanley, ON earlier this morning at approximately 2:45 a.m. The vessel was taken from its normal parking slip at Stan's Marina and driven about 1 km out to Port Stanley Harbour on Lake Erie where the boat was set on fire near the West break wall.

The 24 foot Sea Swirl Inboard Outboard Police boat was completely destroyed by the fire and its replacement value is estimated at approximately $85,000. Firefighting efforts by Central Elgin Fire were made difficult because of the boat's location and access to the area.

Police are continuing to investigate and the Ontario Fire Marshalls Office will be attending.

A temporary replacement police boat is currently being arranged from OPP Headquarters in Orillia.

"In reality, an act such as this really jeopardizes the safety of the boating public. It hampers our ability to respond to marine emergencies in a timely fashion out on Lake Erie. Elgin County OPP's lone vessel was responsible for marine safety, security and rescue operations between Port Glasgow and Port Burwell, which is about 70km of shoreline and extends out to the U.S./Canada border on Lake Erie. Normally there are Auxiliary Coast Guard Units based in Port Stanley and Port Burwell; however, this boating season that is not the case, which leaves the Elgin OPP Marine responsible for all marine emergencies and searches in the area. The nearest Auxiliary Coast Guard Unit would be dispatched out of Long Point area in Norfolk County. Central Elgin Fire has a small vessel which is currently out of service; howeve, they are limited to a 1 km range from shore. This is a senseless act which risks the safety of the public and only harms the tax payer," stated Constable Troy Carlson, Elgin County OPP Marine Unit Co-coordinator.

Efforts to recover the destroyed vessel are currently in progress.

OPP Contact Information

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