He took matters into his own hands to track down the person who did it.
"So I woke up at 2 in the morning, so I'm looking for a new boat," said John Began, boat owner.
John began his search for a new boat on Craigslist and there are plenty of boats for sale there. John's boat was parked for the winter at a friend's lot in Linden. As he was searching the listings, he saw what he thought was his boat for sale.
"And I'm surprised to see my boat, so I look at the picture, and yeah, it's my boat," Began said.
And he's not selling it. So John calls the cops.
"We were going to set up a sting operation and try to apprehend this person," said Lt. James Sarnicki, of the Linden Police Department.
But John already had a sting of his own and called the number on the ad which led him to a man named Chad.
"I say I'm calling from Craigslist, interested in the boat. He says, 'Okay, fine, nice,' you know," Began said.
They arranged to meet at the boat and John took along four friends and his father in law.
"I'm scared; don't know if he has a gun or a knife, something like that," Began said.
And the deal goes down.
"He says, 'This is the boat.' I say, 'Fine, nice.' My father in law grabs him and pushes him against the wall," Began said.
They call the cops again, who show up and arrest Chad, who's really 49-year-old Gregory Bartucci.
"My theory is, he thought the boat was abandoned and he was looking to make a quick buck," Lt. Sarnicki said.
Whatever kept John up that night saved his boat and helped him hook a suspect.
Bartucci may not be placing anymore ads anytime soon.
"He was sent to Union County Jail on $10,000 bail on theft by deception," Lt. Sarnicki said.
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