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Three boats, three thieves, one night

JUNE 17 - Three people were accused Monday of stealing three boats, including a $500,000 high-performance boat, on the Kankakee River in Will County, Ill., about 35 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.

Daniel Nelson and Jeremy Ingram, both 22, and Jessica Mattson, who is 19 — all from Farmington, Ill. — were charged with three counts of theft and possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and face burglary charges in Sangamon County, according to news reports.

The three were driving a stolen Chevrolet pickup truck Monday morning when they decided to head to Peoria, Ill., on the water, according to a report in The Herald News, a suburban Chicago newspaper. They abandoned the truck and stole a Rinker powerboat from a waterfront home on the Kankakee River.

After destroying its propeller on submerged rocks, they left the Rinker adrift and stole a 38-foot Baja go-fast from another residence, the report says. Ruining that propeller as well, they beached the Baja and stole a rowboat docked at a third residence, rowing to BardwellIsland about 1-1/2 miles away.

Authorities pursued the suspects in an Illinois State Police helicopter and an Illinois Department of Conservation boat, reports say.

From BardwellIsland, the three then swam to nearby GrapeIsland, where they were eventually apprehended. Police say the suspects had also stolen a rifle, which they threw into the river, according to reports. The pickup truck, reportedly stolen from SangamonCounty, was found doused in gasoline but not set on fire.

Jason Fell