Kayakgate: Stolen boat held despite Twitterer's find

news-jaggers-kayakSocial networking expert Marijean Jaggers used Twitter and pie to find her stolen kayak.

The dismay that avid social networker Marijean Jaggers felt when she discovered her distinctive mango-colored kayak had been stolen soon turned to joy when one of her Twitter followers found the purloined boat at a nearby sporting goods store. Case closed? Not quite.

Instead, the mystery deepens. Why did it take seven weeks to get the kayak back? Why have no arrests been made, even though police know who accompanied the seller? And why do police say they're unable to determine that Jaggers is the owner, despite a folder full of documentation?

"It was a big purchase for the Jaggers family," says Jaggers, producing the receipt she and her husband received for the $850 Pamlico tandem kayak purchased in 2007 from Appomattox River Company in Farmville.

Along with receipts, Jaggers has photos of the kayak showing her husband, Mark, in it. "It's something we do together," she says. "It's symbolic."

Just three hours after Jaggers tweeted that the couple's kayak had been stolen, a citizen named Brenden Grace tweeted that he saw it at Play It Again Sports in the Rio Hill Shopping Center. Mark Jaggers immediately drove over to investigate.

"He said, 'Oh, yeah,'" Jaggers says. "He'd installed a fishing rod holder with messy white sealer. It's really distinctive." She has the receipt for that, too.

The couple had been keeping the kayak under the deck behind their house in the Hollymead neighborhood, a location not easily visible from the street and a fact that perplexes Jaggers about who would know it was there.

In recent days, Hollymead has seen a rash of car break-ins. On the day of a reporter's visit, two residents report that thieves stole items from their unlocked cars during the night, and a member of the Albemarle Police Department confirms there's been an increase in larcenies from vehicles in Hollymead, and says it's possible they may be connected to the kayak heist.

One person who might be able to shed some light on what Jaggers is calling "kayakgate" is Brent Montgomery. A 2008 graduate of Albemarle High School and a one-time student at Hampden-Sydney College, Montgomery conceded in a telephone call from a reporter that he is the person who provided ID for the questionable transaction.

"Don't call this number again," said Montgomery–- no longer listed in Hampden-Sydney's student registry–- when asked if the infamous boat had belonged to him. Then he hung up.

Besides a law against selling stolen goods, Virginia has a law criminalizing assisting such illicit deals. The law appears to require knowledge that the item was stolen. Police, say Sergeant Darrell Byers, consulted the commonwealth's attorney, who decided not to file any charges against the 20-year-old Montgomery.

"We were unable to determine who the owner of the kayak was," explains Byers, "because of the serial number and identifying marks."

Jaggers concedes that despite their otherwise voluminous kayak folder, the couple didn't have a record of the boat's serial number, and Mark Jaggers erroneously provided a stock number to police.

"It's not necessary to have a serial number to prove ownership," asserts his wife.

Play It Again Sports owner Troy Crews says he, too, feels victimized by the incident.

"I'm out 140 bucks," says Crews. "It came in, and within a day or two, police were investigating and said we couldn't sell it."

As with pawn shops, Crews says he requires a photo ID when his shop buys used sporting goods and finds that fewer than one percent of the items the store buys are hot. In this case, he says police told him that since Jaggers couldn't prove ownership, he shouldn't release the kayak.

"It's a 16-foot boat sitting in the store," says Crews, who released the boat after Jaggers filed suit in small claims court.

Crews objects to some of the angry comments written on Jaggers' blog. "The blame was put on me as a business owner," he complains. "We were ordered by Albemarle police to hold it."

Jaggers notes that a solo thief would have been hard-pressed to steal a 16-foot boat. And she, too, expresses frustration that even with the identity of a person present for the fencing, no one has been arrested.

"It's not a very satisfying experience," says Jaggers.

One person did, however, get some satisfaction. Brenden Grace is the Twitterer who spotted the kayak. Although Jaggers works as a public relations/social networking specialist, she's also known for baking pies, and she promised to give one to whoever found her boat.

"Ridiculously good," tweets Grace. "Totally stands up to the hype."


The simple answer as to why the PoPo won't go after Montgomery - is that it would take too much work for any possible return on the investment in man hours (both PoPo Man hours and Prosecuting Lawyer and Legal Assistant man hours).

As long as Montgomery says, "I didn't know it was stolen." He's off the hook (no pun intended) since the PoPo can't prove he knew. And since he's of the Hook with the PoPo - they've got nothing to use to squeeze him to give up names of the accomplices/or perpetrators- who if he did give up names- would certainly implicate him in the crime of "knowing it was stolen goods."

So Good Guys: Zero

Criminals: One + (plus how many other crimes have recently happened in that area and are unsolved).

they are paid by check, according to the website. who cashed the check? imo it's worth pursuing if only to ID this thief and his accomplice(s). I'll bet the folks living in Forest Lakes agree.


I am suggesting they tap his phones, put a GPS tracker on his car, and do 24/7 surveillance on his dorm room.

Then maybe send him to Gitmo

I do love my goat, Wog, but not that way (although it is a very cute goat).

stalking the montgomery boy on facebook? get a life!

The fact that they were willing to take $140 for what appears to be a fairly nice kayak should've raised a red flag for the buyer. A person could easily get three times that amount by selling it on Craigslist.

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Let's look at the facts:

1) Despite any claims, it seems that the original and legal ownership of the Kayak can and has been established. How many Mango-colored kayaks with shoddy fishing pole holders at the very exact location could there be?

2) This Montgomery punk sold the stolen kayak to "Play it Again Sports" - that has already been established by their records and it seems by his own admission. Seems to me he is in violation of Virginia Code.

3) The only way the punk can have possession of the stolen kayak is if: (a) He helped steal it himself; or (b) He obtained it from the original thieves. I sincerely doubt it if something of this size and weight would have changed hands more than once in the 3-hours it was missing. Either Brent Montgomery is protecting himself or someone else and in either case he is an accomplish no matter how you look at it.

If he is innocent he needs top provide the Investigators information where he received this item or get charged with obstruction (at the very least). And shame on his parents for protecting him either way (as it seems to be the case here).

If it waddles, quacks, has tail feathers and webbed feet like a duck; there is no doubt in my mind that it is a duck. Brent Montgomery should be forced to provide the information needed to find and prosecute the thieves or be booked on selling stolen merchandise as per Virginia Code.

Jagger should have offered donuts, then she would have had the entire force chasing Montgomery

Um, Gerald, in the Ox-Bow incident the vigilantes hung the wrong guys.

If there is no justice to be had within the law, people will step outside the law. Go re-read The Ox-bow Incident. This Montgomery boy had better make himself scarce. Pronto.

Who is the thief, the Mayor? Nope, the cops are just far too busy busting people for driving 5mph in 4mph zones.

Can't expect a big investigation for trespassing, theft of private property, sale of stolen property,etc...

No "JJ MALLOY", you misread my intent completely. If the police don't have an open and shut case, they aren't going to arrest anyone. This isn't a TV show.

re:"The person who stole this probably has been involved in, or knows who is involved in, the spate of recent thefts in the same neighborhood."

This is pure speculation on your part. But even if you're right, what are suggesting the police do? Arrest someone allegedly involved in this case to try to pressure some sort of confession out of them?

Again, this isn't a TV show and you aren't likely to get your justice fix by reading the news blog of the hook. Stick to Law and Order.

This is the year 2010, and everybody has assigned to specialized duties within the cop shoppes. Who exactly investigates a insignificant crime like this nowadays? I doubt the traffic unit has any interest. The JADE task force certainly doesn't. Patrol has their hands full answering calls for service. The school resource officers couldn't care less. And the investigations division has much more important crimes to investigate. And to make matters worse, if investigations can't find a murderer, what makes up think they can find a kayak thief.

(disclaimer: insignificant crime above = insignificant in the eyes of the law, not the owner)

Anybody know how to link this story to Brent Montgomery's facebook page?

Get over it, folks. There is no justice for petty crimes and vandalism nowadays. The cop shoppes would prefer you not even call them.... they will ask you to go online and file an incident report. It's then placed in file 13.

I thought somebody stole my goat from the back yard last week, but then I remembered I'd left it in the car.

Lynched the wrong guys? Who cares? The Hook said he's guilty. Or implied it. Or suggested it. So I say, string him up. Liz Cheney agrees with me on this.

It's good to know that even with extensive paperwork documentation proving ownership of an item, as well as family photos showing members of the family using said item, police will insist that sorry, there's no way to prove ownership of the item.

A big "FAIL" to the Albemarle police.

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Criminal Justice=Make monkey-boy walk the plank...

Wait a minute. She got the kayak back.

I think the issue is that it's harder to indict and convict for criminal offenses than it is for someone to retrieve their stolen property.

I would venture a guess that the crime victim would be happy to not be victimized again whether or not the perpetrators were punished. At least, I would be.

I love that Montgomery's FB page lists him as a graduate of the University of Nevada's criminal justice program. *cough*

The person who stole this probably has been involved in, or knows who is involved in, the spate of recent thefts in the same neighborhood.
The authorities know who sold the kayak to Play it Again Sports. They have his information. Selling stolen property, or assisting in doing so, is a crime. That person, Montogomery, either knows who stole it or can identify who sold it to himself.

I guess, 'meanwhile', you could care less about the fact that these people are still out there stealing as long as it doesn't affect you.

What's that saying about something good coming from something bad...everyone needs to go to Marijean's blog - there is an awesome peach pie recipe!! (Marijean - thanks for sharing your story...glad you got the kayak back!)

Is this the same Brent Montgomery who played lax at AHS?

You mean we can steal kayaks, sell them to Play it Again Sports and then not get prosecuted????

Lock your stuff up. It's money makin' time.

Buppy - Are you sure you didn't leave your goat in the bedroom?