It’s winter in Tahoe; do you know where your boat is?
In October, just before the first snow, John DeCarie rented a room on South Street and towed four boats into the yard behind the house, according to his landlord Chris Anello.
DeCarie told Anello he would move the boats in a few weeks, but by November he had gone, leaving the boats to gather snow under trees.
“I knew they weren’t his,” Anello said. “John was a really nice guy, we liked him at first, but a month later the police were kicking our door down. It was kind of crazy around here.”
Police had learned that DeCarie allegedly dumped the boats on South Street after telling the owners he would store them for the winter. The boats were stripped of their engines after they were entrusted to DeCarie.
According to South Lake Tahoe police, at least four people paid DeCarie as much as $950 to winterize and store their boats in Minden or at the Tahoe Keys Marina. DeCarie allegedly took the money and ran, according to Detective Cameron Carmichael.
A felony warrant for gun possession has been issued for his arrest and the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office wants to question him in connection with the missing boats. So far they have not been able to find him.
“The matter is currently under investigation and he is definitely a suspect,” El Dorado County Assistant District Attorney Hans Uthe said. He added that DeCarie is suspected of dumping several other boats around the lake and that the owners probably think their boats are safely in storage.
“These boats keep popping up like mushrooms,” Investigator Bob Hilton said. “They are abandoned and in derelict condition, and if people are aware of them they should contact the police.”
DeCarie is currently under investigation in Sacramento for his role in selling a boat for a retired Reno judge, and then keeping the money.
“One of the reasons we are concerned is that he appears to be committing new crimes,” Uthe said.
No one, however, is sure what DeCarie’s real name is.
In 1984, DeCarie was convicted in a federal court under the name Juan Garcia for lying to a loan officer, after applying for a federal loan under an assumed name and declaring false assets.
Authorities said DeCarie has used several false names.
“When I first met him, he told me that he worked for the CIA or DEA,” Anello said. “He seemed like the kind of guy who probably has eight different names.”
After DeCarie disappeared, Anello tried to keep the boats clean, but said, “Now they are just ruined.”
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