A fisherman in southern Indiana was devastated on Friday when someone stole his fishing boat overnight. His faith in humanity was restored the following day, however, after a Facebook post led to the boat’s recovery.
According to security camera footage at the RV dealership where he works, Seth Stewart’s twin-engine Pro-Line boat was stolen from the parking lot just after midnight on April 28. The footage showed someone in a black Toyota Tundra pulling up to the boat, hooking up the trailer, and driving away. Feeling angry and frustrated about the loss of his boat, Stewart made a Facebook post that morning.
“To the assholes that took my boat last night. You might have my boat, but you can’t take my memories,” Stewart wrote around 8:30 a.m. on Friday. “Somewhere along the way you’ll be judged. That’s not my job. It’s a sad world we live in.”
To his surprise, judgment day came sooner than expected. The following morning, Stewart received a Facebook message from a complete stranger who said they’d recognized the stolen boat on a stretch of interstate near Bowling Green, Kentucky. A couple hours later, his friend Kurt Siefert called him. He and his wife had also seen the boat while driving along the same interstate. Then, a second friend sent Stewart a text message letting him know that a buddy of his, named Eric Kampshaefer, had the stolen boat in his sights. The boat thief was still driving southbound on I-65, so Stewart called Kampshaefer directly.
“He tells me, ‘Hey I’m going to Nashville, so I can stay with this boat for awhile,’” Stewart told WHAS News.
Stewart had notified the police in Kentucky by that point, and with Kampshaefer tailing the thief, he sent him the boat’s VIN number. Kampshaefer stayed in pursuit until the authorities caught up with them.
“After the police started to pull the thief over, the stranger that I’d never met in person pulled over to provide the State Trooper with the VIN I just [texted] him,” Stewart explained in a follow-up Facebook post on April 29. “The trooper then called and said, ‘Your boat has been recovered!’ The world is a better place than I thought, and there are still a lot of good people out there that are more than willing to help a stranger.”
It was not immediately clear who the culprit was and what legal ramifications are in store for the thief. Still, Stewart went on to thank all six of the individuals who reached out to help recover his boat: Samantha Raymer and her husband, Kurt and Cindy Seifert, Christian Roberts, and Eric Kampshaefer.
“I must admit, I cried when my boat was stolen. Not because of the item itself but because of all the memories that had been made and are yet to be made on that boat!” Stewart wrote. “Next time I’m heading out for another adventure, it will only be because of you!”