Authorities say the owner of The Boatyard near Antioch took a boat renter’s phone and threw it into the water and then later made false claims on social media about the boat renters.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit was called around 6 p.m. Saturday to The Boatyard, located at 42125 North 4th Avenue in unincorporated Antioch.
The caller, Kristen Wooden, 36, of Antioch, reported one of her rental boats struck the Route 12 railroad bridge earlier in the day and she wanted to make a report.
Marine unit deputies were responding to the scene when Wooden called 911 again to report the renters of the boat were damaging her property, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli.
The woman refused to tell dispatchers what the renters were doing to damage her property.
Deputies arrived around 6:20 p.m. and saw Wooden standing at the edge of her pier engaged in a verbal altercation with the occupants of the boat, which was not yet docked.
Wooden said she was concerned the operator was not able to dock the boat so marine unit deputies offered to give Wooden a ride to board her rental boat so she could dock it herself, which the business owner agreed to do, Covelli said.
Wooden docked the boat and then allegedly took a cell phone from the hands of one of the boat’s occupants, who was recording the situation.
Deputies observed Wooden toss the victim’s cell phone into the water after taking it, Covelli said.
Deputies spoke to all of the occupants of the rental boat and found there were no signs of impairment with the operator of the boat.
The boat’s occupants told deputies that Wooden refused to let them dock when they returned until the sheriff’s office arrived.
The boat’s renters also reported they were not given proper instructions on handling or maneuvering the boat.
Wooden claimed they were given a briefing, Covelli said.
Deputies determined Wooden did not provide a copy of the rental agreement to the renters as required by state law.
They also learned the rented boat did not have U.S. Coast Guard required equipment, including an emergency engine cut-off switch link, Covelli said.
Wooden was arrested for criminal damage to property, a Class A misdemeanor.
She was additionally cited for not providing the required equipment on a rental boat.
Wooden was processed at the Lake County Jail and released on a personal recognizance bond. She is scheduled to appear in court on August 23.
Covelli said that deputies took a boat crash report earlier that day after the rented boat, a double-decker pontoon, struck the Route 12 railroad bridge.
The incident was captured on video and shared on social media.
The Boatyard, owned by Wooden and her husband, posted on their business’ Facebook page claiming that there were numerous liquor bottles, beer bottles, garbage and human waste left on the rented boat.
Covelli said the mentioned items were not observed by marine unit deputies.
The business also claimed in the post that the vessel would need to be taken out of service due to its structural integrity being compromised.
“The impact caused extensive structural damage to our boat, ripping apart the upper deck frame – we believe the excessive rate of speed is what broke numerous welds and destroyed the structural integrity of the boat,” The Boatyard said in the now-deleted post.
Covelli said the boat was not taken out of service and was actually rented the day following the crash.