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UPDATE: Search For Possible WaveRunner Thief Called Off

April 18, 2013, 4:06 PM HST
* Updated April 19, 10:09 AM
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A search being conducted for a possible person in waters off Kona was called off Thursday afternoon, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

Chief Petty Officer Anthony Soto said that the search would not resume unless there are any new developments. Anyone with information on a possible person in distress can call the Coast Guard at 808-842-2600.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter began a search at about 10 a.m. Thursday assisted by a Hawaii Fire Department vessel and shore crew.

The search began after a rental Yamaha WaveRunner was found adrift by a commercial fishing boat two miles offshore of Kailua-Kona.

The Coast Guard determined that the personal watercraft belonged to Kona Jet Ski, a Kailua-Kona business.

The owner of the business, Mark Chesler, today told Big Island Now that the WaveRunner had been stolen Wednesday night. It was undamaged when returned by the Coast Guard.

He said the craft that was stolen was the only one not in areas covered by the company’s surveillance cameras.

Whoever stole the WaveRunner also took the time to fold and stow its cover, Chesler said.

A theft report has been filed with police. He said there are no suspects at this time.

Chesler theorized that at some point the thief may have jumped off the WaveRunner and swam to shore.

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