Newport Beach Police Arrest SUP Thief
Southern California paddlers can finally breathe easy, as the infamous SUP bandit has been arrested. Last week, Newport Beach Police caught the suspected paddleboard thief, 45-year-old Dan Patrick Elias of Costa Mesa, Calif.
For the past ten months, multiple standup paddlers in Southern California have been the victims of a string of thefts.
“In several cases, the paddleboards were locked, and Elias would simply cut the lock and remove the board,” crime prevention specialist, Andi Querry, said in a released statement. “He would also remove unattended, unsecured boards and if questioned, he would say he was moving it for a friend.”
Police were tipped off when reports were made that some of the stolen boards were turning up for sale in local shops and on Craigslist.
"My custom King's board walked right back into King's after it was stolen," says local SUP racer Terri Plunkett. "My board was locked on my racks in front of my [San Clemente] house when it was stolen. It was missing about a month and a half before Rhonda Daum saw it walk into the shop," Plunkett said. "It was damaged and the guy said he'd bought the board from Craigslist for 60 bucks. The stolen boards were usually nice ones— I think the guy knew what he was looking for."
The thief's run was put to an end when undercover officers set up a sting last Friday, posing as potential buyers. The detectives contacted Elias, asking to meet to see one of the paddleboards listed on Craigslist. Elias met the officers with two paddleboards and a kayak in possession before an arrest was made. Police later determined the goods were stolen, and have since returned them to their rightful owners.
On Tuesday, Elias pleaded not guilty.
This isn’t the thief’s first run-in with the law. Elias is already facing felony drug distribution charges from another incident in May and records show he’s had involvement in criminal activities for the past two decades.
Police are unsure of the volume of boards that have been stolen and are asking anyone with information, or who believes they may have been a victim of SUP theft to call Detective Kimble at 949.644.3767, or the Newport Beach Police Department's Hotline at 1.800.550.NBPD (6273), where messages can be left anonymously. —SC
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