Bandits Swipe Boat Batteries

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LAKE WALLENPAUPACK -- In the past month, some owners of boats on Lake Wallenpaupack have gone to start their engines, only to find their batteries missing.

Someone has been swiping the batteries according to state police, which is leaving the boaters high and dry.

So many boats sit at docks all around Lake Wallenpaupack and when they've been left unattended, someone has been coming along and ripping out the batteries.

In one case, it was a boat used to save lives.

As captain of the Ledgedale Dive Team on Lake Wallenpaupack, Joe Sledzinski is always making sure the team's pontoon boat is ready to go at a moment's notice. Late last month, however, it wasn't.

The batteries were stolen and Sledzinski said that could have led to dire consequences if the dive team was needed in an emergency.

"This is basically a fire truck on the water, if someone comes to your fire house and takes your batteries or strips your fuel you're done," he said.

Lucky for the dive team, someone donated two batteries to the cause but the stolen batteries have prompted team members to take extra measures.

"Everyday we have someone stop by, check, make sure there's nothing taken, the batteries are in, ready to go."

At first state police got one report of batteries missing from a boat here at Lake Wallenpaupack, then another, then another. At least three victims were hit at Rockledge Point near Hawley. All that's left are the battery covers. The batteries are gone.

"Batteries are around $110, so they cost some money for sure, not something you want to replace all the time," said Heather Karnish of Driftwood Cove Marina.

The owners of the marina said battery thieves hit about a half-dozen boats on their docks as well, including their own boat.

No matter what the thieves are doing with the batteries, victims said it's putting a damper on the summer season on the lake.

"Come here, go out on the boat and enjoy it for the day. When something disrupts that, it's an intrusion of your privacy," added Karnish.

Troopers have only confirmed they are looking into several cases of missing batteries at Lake Wallenpaupack, but folks with the Ledgedale Dive Team said they've heard at least 30 boats were hit just within the last few weeks.


  • Paupack

    They didn’t mention but the summer only owner lives 1/4 mile away. This area has been a haven for thefts of outboard boat engines in the adjacent neighborhood but there is no police presence ever. With the cost of renting a boat slip at around 1k a season you wonder if the owner isn’t profiting pretty good from sales of batteries instead of providing proper real 24 hour security for our boats. Wasn’t heather a stripper at the old lakeville swamp go go bar not too many years ago?

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