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Thieves strike club's boats at Lake Lanier Olympic Center
Coach says missing motors a big blow to paddling club
1016theft 1
When paddling accidents happen, such as this topple at the beginning of practice Tuesday afternoon at the Lake Lanier Olympic Center, a steady boat with a dependable motor can help the situation. High Performance 1 coach Morgan House motors up to check on the situation in a johnboat with a new motor. Three motors went missing overnight Sunday at Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Three motors have been taken from boats owned by the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club, a club coach reported.

“Basically, at six in the evening on Sunday, the motors were still attached to the boats,” coach Morgan House said Tuesday. “When we showed up (at) 7:30 Monday morning, we noticed that three out of the four were missing.”

The motorboats were docked at the club’s boathouse at the Lake Lanier Olympic Center on Clarks Bridge Road.

“These motors are absolutely essential. Without them, we can’t get out in the water — it was a pretty big blow to find those were missing,” House said. “We’re doing a small competition on Oct. 26, but for the most part, these are needed for practice.”

House explained why the club needs the motorboats for the youths who compete with the club.

“The coaches are in the motorboats, right there next to the athletes,” he said. “We can’t just send the kids out into the lake, and say, ‘We’ll see you back in two hours.’”

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

“We gave them the VIN numbers of each (motor) that (was) missing,” House said. “We can only basically hope that someone tries to sell them, and the buyer runs the number.”

The motors were worth about $2,200 each, House said. On Tuesday, he was already on his way to buy new motors, using money from the club that had been earmarked for other purposes.

“Some insurance money will eventually pay for it, to cover some of the cost,” he added.

In his time coaching at the club, House said he’s never seen motors stolen from boats, and that the club is taking the incident as a lesson.

“We’ll be locking the motors to the boat — making it more secure — and hopefully locking the boats to the dock itself,” he said. “We’ve never had this issue before; didn’t think that we’d have to address it.”

The engines are 9.9 horsepower, relatively small and weigh at least 75 pounds, he said.

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