AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A professional fisherman traveling through Amarillo had his new truck and boat stolen from a Comfort Inn parking lot on Monday morning.
On November 5, Tournament Bass Angler Shawn O’Connell stayed at the Comfort Inn off of I-40 as he was traveling home from a fishing tournament and woke up to find his truck and boat stolen.
“We got up in the morning and went outside and the truck and boat were gone,” said O’Connell. “I didn’t figure I’d see any of that again. I think it was by 8:00 that night they had recovered the truck and boat.”
O’Connell’s 2019 Ford F350 pickup and 2018 Triton boat were missing from the hotel, along with other property, which was valued around $300,000.
O’Connell said, “There is a little bit of damage to the truck and then the boat trailer is damaged. The boat itself appears to be fine. You know, they probably haven’t towed a boat a lot and looks like they took a corner a little tight and they crunched up the wheels. It made me feel pretty good how hard the Panhandle Auto Burglary and Theft Unit worked on it.”
Around 3:00 p.m. that day, officers were dispatched to Westgate Mall where Jamie Luna was in custody for shoplifting.
According to police, Luna had property of O’Connell’s on her, as well as the key to O’Connell’s truck, which fell out of her pocket as police helped her out of their patrol car.
Officers from the Panhandle Auto Burglary and Theft Unit went to the Westgate Mall parking lot and located the truck. Officers later found the boat with more of O’Connell’s property in the 900 block of Cleveland Street.
“Amarillo is number two in the state of Texas for stolen autos,” said Tammy Chervenka, Crime Preventative Coordinator for the Panhandle Auto Burglary and Theft Unit. “This is definitely something that happens a lot. Hotels, convenient stores, all over Amarillo. Once your vehicle is stolen, as long as you have the tag number or VIN number, anywhere your vehicle goes, it can be found.”
O’Connell said, “I definitely wouldn’t discourage anyone to travel to Amarillo. I think there’s bad people everywhere and I think the police there rounded everything up.”
The Panhandle Auto Burglary and Theft Unit urges drivers to never leave their keys in their cars including fobs.