A Buena Park man was among two Southern California suspects arrested when investigators cracked a sophisticated statewide boat theft ring, the state Department of Motor Vehicles said Wednesday.
Jack A. O’Connor, 25, of Buena Park and Timothy M. Kyelberg, 22, of Long Beach were linked with the thefts of more than 12 boats in 1988, ranging in value from $10,000 to $130,000, DMV investigator Bill Hall said.
The two suspects were arrested Friday by DMV investigators. They pleaded innocent at their Municipal Court arraignment to conspiracy and perjury charges. They remain jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail each, pending a March 23 preliminary hearing.
If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 9 years in state prison.
“This case is particularly significant in that the boats and boat trailers were stolen and transported to many Southern California counties,” Hall said.
The thieves stole boats from one area, changed the hull identification numbers and made up phony registration papers, he said, then they would then sell the boats to unsuspecting buyers in another area.
Most of the stolen boats have since been recovered, he said.
O’Connor and Kyelberg are charged with perjury in connection with submitting false registration documents for the boats to the DMV.
Hall said O’Connor and Kyelberg’s operation was not related to another statewide boat theft ring allegedly involving former Los Angeles Police Department Officer William Leasure. Leasure faces pending trials in charges that he participated in that theft ring and in two contract murders.
DMV officials said that since starting a vessel theft program in early 1987, they have recovered more than 48 stolen boats and 29 stolen boat trailers, valued at more than $600,000.