Hall County authorities said they've solved at least one boat theft case on the north end of Lake Lanier - and they think they may be on track to solve a half dozen others.
Since June 25, six vessels, including boats and personal watercraft, have been stolen from docks on the north end of the lake, mostly in the Wahoo Creek area, according to Sheriff's Deputy Stephen Wilbanks.
He said investigators arrested two men in connection with one of the thefts. Donald Ray Ladd, 46, and Bruce Michael Vandervoet, 56, are accused of stealing a pontoon from a dock on Shoreline Drive on July 21. Wilbanks said investigators were able to break that case because the homeowners’ association of the Timberidge community off of Grant Ford Road shared surveillance video on July 23.
"[Investigators] noted an individual that was captured on surveillance camera who appeared to be involved in suspicious activity around the community boat dock," Wilbanks said. "That person was identified as 46 year-old Donald Ray Ladd, who incidentally arrived at the dock while the investigation was underway. Ladd was arrested at the scene and charged with the theft of the 2007 Sun Chaser pontoon boat."
Another individual on the video, identified as Vandervoet, was arrested on August 6 at his residence on Hummingbird Court inside the Timberidge community, according to Wilbanks.
"Both are charged with felony theft by taking and are currently free on bond," Wilbanks said.
Investigators said they are working to determine if Ladd and Vandervoet might have been involved in the other thefts. Wilbanks said in all the cases, the watercraft were stripped of valuables and then abandoned.
The following list provided by the Hall County Sheriff's Office provides details on the thefts:
6/25/17: 2003 Sweetwater Tuscany pontoon boat reported stolen from a dock on Nautical Way; recovered on 7/04/17 at Little River Park after it was called in as an unattended boat on the shoreline.
6/26/17: 2007 Seadoo personal watercraft reported stolen from a dock on Wild Turkey Way; recovered on 7/01/17 in Wahoo Creek in the area of Shoreline Drive when it was found by the owner unattended, along with a pontoon boat that was also stolen (see next entry below).
6/30/17: 2015 Xcursion pontoon boat reported stolen from a dock on River View Drive; recovered with the stolen Seadoo mentioned above.
7/17/17: 2014 Chaparral fish / ski boat reported stolen from a dock on Shoreline Drive; recovered the same date as reported after being found unattended on the shoreline near Whippoorwill Lane.
7/18/17: 1995 Yamaha Wave Runner personal watercraft reported stolen from a dock on Mount Vernon Road; recovered the same date as reported after it was discovered by HCSO Marine Patrol floating unattended near Wahoo Creek Park (last seen by the owner on 7/13/17).
7/21/17: 2007 Sun Chaser pontoon boat reported stolen from a dock on Shoreline Drive; recovered on 7/23/17 after being found unattended in the area of Bolding Mill Park by HCSO Marine Patrol (see arrest information below related to this incident).
7/23/17: 1999 Sea Ray boat reported stolen from a dock on Cool Springs Road; recovered on 7/25/17 after being discovered unattended near Shoreline Drive.
Wilbanks said if anyone has information on any of the thefts, they can call the Sheriff's Office at 770-531-6879.