Wis. Police Chief Finds Boat Thief While Off Duty In Forest Lake

SOMERSET, Wis. (WCCO) — A Wisconsin police chief now has the answers he was looking for. He found them while he was off duty, running errands in Minnesota.

It all started with a $30,000 dollar boat. Somebody stole it from St. Croix Marine and Power in Somerset, Wis.

Surveillance video caught the thief in the act. But the police chief himself spotted the suspect, in the most surprising of places.

Surveillance video shows what happened. After casing the place the night before, video shows a man putting gloves on, hitching the boat to his truck and taking off in the night.

Ryan Larson is one of the owners of the shop.

“It’s mind-boggling. You just get that bad feeling that there’s people out there that take it for pennies on a dollar,” Larson said.

The Somerset police chief started working on the case. From some of the video, he was able to see the suspect had a unique truck and unique tattoos.

Of all places for this case to take a turn, it was in Forest Lake, 44 miles from Somerset. The chief happened to be there running errands.

“So he is in his personal vehicle and follows this guy for about eight miles and gets close enough to get a visual of him and he’s got tattoos from his knuckles up. He’s got a distinct tattoo on his neck, on his forehead on the back of his head,” Larson said.

The chief also recognized the unique truck. After some research comparing old mugs from Minnesota, the chief identified 40-year-old William Edward Miller.

After getting a warrant, he was eventually taken in to custody.

“I mean we haven’t got our boat back, but the good thing is he’s caught,” Larson said.

Miller’s bond was set at $250, and he goes back to court next month. There’s no word yet on where that stolen boat is.

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