Hoquiam Police are investigating two men suspected of stealing a large metal scaffolding platform and hauling it in a small boat, the department reported.
Hoquiam officers responded to a call at about 11:40 a.m. Tuesday reporting two men were carrying a large piece of metal across the Chehalis River to the 28th Street Boat Launch.
Aberdeen Police Officer Jason Perkinson was first on scene and contacted the men, who had just unloaded a roughly 32-inch by 24-foot aluminum scaffolding platform.
The men claimed to have found the platform buried in the mud on Rennie Island, but Hoquiam Police Sgt. Jeff Salstrom located the company name and phone number on the side of the platform. The company told police it wanted the platform back, and new the item is worth $1,300.
Hoquiam Police believe the men intended to sell the platform for scrap, according to a press release. Aluminum scrap currently sells for 45 cents per pound.
Port of Grays Harbor personnel were called and held the platform until the company could pick it up.
Police found the boat lacked visible serial or hull numbers, did not display any vessel registration and had no personal floatation devices or other required safety equipment on board.
The boat was impounded by the Hoquiam Police Department pending an inspection by the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department Marine Unit. Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers said the department currently has another vessel impounded believed to belong to the same person.
One of the men, a 49-year-old Aberdeen resident, was arrested on outstanding Aberdeen Municipal Court warrants. The other was released pending the investigation. Hoquiam Police expect both to be submitted for charges of possession of stolen property.
“This has become another extension of the metal theft epidemic we are battling on the Harbor. I felt it was the best to impound the boat to take it away from those who use these derelict vessels to access remote private property along the water’s edge to steal metal,” Myers said.