Thursday, January 20, 2011
Carmel on the Case: On The Hook
A lot of people dream of owning a boat, but for one man just when he thought his dream was coming true he finds out he's on the hook for a boat he will never be able to use. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero has the twists and turns of his story.
WSVN -- Our camera was rolling as Hialeah Police showed up at the home of 27-year-old Pavel Gonzalez. They took him in for questioning about this boat.
Patrick Murphy, Bought Stolen Boat: "I had the boat for about a day and a half , cleaned it up real nice."
Patrick Murphy thought he owned the boat, saying he paid Gonzalez $9,700 for it. But, according to police, Gonzalez sold Murphy a stolen boat.
Patrick Murphy: "You know, good deals come around sometimes, and that's sort of why I figured maybe I got lucky."
Murphy met Gonzalez to buy the boat in Hialeah. He got a bill of sale and towed his new boat back to Lantana in Palm Beach County.
Carmel Cafiero: "This is tough, I guess you thought you might be fishing this morning instead of talking to me?
Patrick: "Yeah, yup. Absolutely."
But two days after returning home, police showed up at Patrick's door with bad news.
Patrick Murphy: "They came back and told me that the title was fake, the bill of sale and everything was fake."
During the investigation, Hialeah Police determined this was not your run-of-the mill boat theft.
Det. Carl Zogby, Hialeah Police Department: "This is a complicated case that started up in West Palm Beach."
In roughly eight months authorities say five people were involved with the boat. It starts with Juan who is the registered owner. He told police he gave it to a friend Fernando to sell, but never got any money from Fernando. Then somebody named Goofy reportedly sells the boat to a guy named Ismael who says he paid ten grand.
Pavel Gonzalez told police he was selling it for Ismael, but since the original owner Juan says he never got paid, he reported the boat stolen.
It is all very confusing.
Det. Carl Zogby: "The owner is saying he never got paid, other people are saying they paid him, so somebody is not being up front with us, and there may be some money that exchanged hands, that nobody is talking about."
Carmel Cafiero: "So the person who sold you the boat, what did he say his name was?"
Patrick: "He posed as the guy whose name was on the title, who was the original owner."
And that's what landed Pavel Gonzalez behind bars.
Det. Carl Zogby: "He's in trouble now, for dealing in stolen property, pretty much, he sold something that was reported stolen, and he didn't have the authority to sell."
Judge: "Pavel Gonzalez. Sir, you were arrested for grand theft, a third degree felony."
Gonzalez told police he didn't know the boat was stolen. All Patrick knows is he's out thousands.
Patrick Murphy: "You know, I mean, I saved up, you know, pretty much my whole savings just to get this boat, I don't want this to happen to anybody else."
Carmel Cafiero: "It only takes a few minutes to make sure you don't end up on the hook for a stolen boat. All you have to do is go online with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and enter the boat's hull identification number and you'll get the vessel's status."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Public Access System
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
If you check the hull number, and there is a "stop" on the vessel's record:
FLHSMV Customer Service Center: (850) 617-2000
IF YOU HAVE A STORY FOR CARMEL TO INVESTIGATE: