Police execute a search warrant on September 1, 2023, at The Boatyard, located at 42125 North 4th Avenue in unincorporated Antioch, amid an ongoing criminal investigation after customers reported being fraudulently charged by the business. | Photo via Facebook

The owner of The Boatyard near Antioch is facing new charges after the sheriff says she rented her boats this past weekend despite her boat licenses being suspended.

Kristen Wooden, 36, of Antioch, was charged with two counts of required equipment for rented vessel violation.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that the Fox Waterway Agency has suspended the license stickers for numerous rental boats owned by The Boatyard, which is Wooden’s company.

The boats are not allowed to be operated on waters maintained by the Fox Waterway Agency due to the suspension, Covelli said.

“Wooden is aware of this, as she has been informed by the sheriff’s office and Fox Waterway Agency of the suspension,” Covelli said.

A marine unit deputy last Friday afternoon observed one of Wooden’s rental boats being operated on the Chain O’Lakes.

Covelli said deputies pulled the boat over and confirmed Wooden rented it.

The occupants were given a ride back to shore and the boat was impounded by the sheriff’s office.

An inspection of the boat found it did not have certain equipment that is required on rental boats in Illinois, Covelli said.

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A marine unit deputy on Saturday observed one of Wooden’s rental boats being operated on the Chain O’Lakes.

Deputies pulled the boat over and confirmed Wooden rented it, Covelli said.

Police execute a search warrant on September 1, 2023, at The Boatyard, located at 42125 North 4th Avenue in unincorporated Antioch, amid an ongoing criminal investigation after customers reported being fraudulently charged by the business. | Photo via Facebook

The occupants were given a ride back to shore and the boat was impounded by the sheriff’s office.

Covelli said an inspection of the boat found it also did not have certain equipment that is required on rental boats in Illinois.

Wooden was issued citations during both incidents and released on a recognizance bond.

Earlier this month, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit conducted a search warrant at The Boatyard in unincorporated Antioch.

The warrant was obtained following prior incidents involving the business and Wooden.

Covelli said a customer in mid-July rented a boat from The Boatyard and was charged $500 prior to arriving at the business.

When the customer asked why there was an additional $500 charge on his credit card, he was informed it was a deposit for damage but the deposit would be lifted after the boat was returned without damage.

Covelli said the customer received no training on how to operate the boat.

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The customer informed the business of damage in several areas of the boat before he operated it.

Police execute a search warrant on September 1, 2023, at The Boatyard, located at 42125 North 4th Avenue in unincorporated Antioch, amid an ongoing criminal investigation after customers reported being fraudulently charged by the business. | Photo via Facebook

Covelli said staff noted the damage. The man and his family later returned to The Boatyard with the boat.

He and staff inspected the boat and the staff confirmed there was no new damage.

Shortly after he left, the victim was contacted by Wooden, who claimed he damaged the boat, according to Covelli.

The victim assured Wooden he did not damage the boat and did not strike anything with the boat.

The man’s credit card was charged by The Boatyard three times in the amounts of $775, $500 and $275.

The victim called Wooden to explain the fraudulent charges and Wooden said she charged his credit card because of the “damage” she located on the boat, Covelli said.

A similar situation occurred on July 22 when Wooden charged a customer’s credit card for nearly $5,500.

Covelli said the same situation occurred to several other renters who reported they received unauthorized charges on their credit cards from The Boatyard.

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During the search warrant, deputies seized electronic storage devices, receipts and other documents.

The owner of The Boatyard, Kristen Wooden, 36, of Antioch, was arrested on July 22, 2023, after she allegedly took a boat renter’s phone and threw it into the Chain O’Lakes in front of her business during a dispute, police said. | Provided Photo

Marine Unit deputies and Illinois conservation officers inspected The Boatyard’s rental boats.

“Nearly every boat was ordered out of service, due to not being in compliance with rental laws, conservation laws, and Fox Waterway regulations,” Covelli said at the time.

Wooden was informed she could not rent the boats but ignored officers and continued to rent them throughout the Labor Day weekend, Covelli added.

Marine Unit deputies later seized six of the boats illegally rented by Wooden.

Covelli said this week that the criminal investigation remains ongoing and criminal charges are likely to be filed.

Anyone who believes they were unlawfully charged by The Boatyard is asked to call the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit at 847-377-4000.

In July, Lake and McHenry County Scanner obtained bodycam footage of Wooden being arrested at her business and charged with criminal damage to property.

The video showed Wooden throwing a boat renter’s phone into the water during a dispute over the renters crashing a double-decker pontoon boat.