October 23, 2015

Upper Keys dive shops – and Mares brand – targeted by vandal

Sheriff’s detectives say someone is targeting Mares Brand dive gear and has entered two separate dive shops in the Upper Keys and damaged thousands of dollars in buoyancy control devices and wet suits by slashing them with a sharp object.

 The first report came on Wednesday afternoon. West Marine at the 103 mile marker of the highway said they got a notice from their corporate office that someone has been cutting Mares wet suits from the Palm Beach County area south and they were asking all their stores to check their wet suit inventories.

The store manager said when they checked, they found 13 wet suits and one dive bag, all the Mares brand, damaged. Someone has slashed them down the back.

The second report came in Thursday afternoon from Divers Direct at the 99.6 mile marker of the highway in Key Largo. That store discovered  11 BCDs and two dive gear bags, all  made by Mares, slashed with a sharp object. That store said they’d had a notice from their corporate office as well.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to put all local dive shops on notice that this is taking place. Anyone who has information should contact our agency immediately. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

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