Oyster fisherman overjoyed when stolen boat is found
NEW ORLEANS - Nearly a week after it was reported stolen from New Orleans East, a man is overjoyed to have his custom oyster boat back at his home.
The owner of the 37 foot long, brand new steel boat, Paul McIntyre, says he owes the power of prayer for bringing his vessel back to him.
"Sally Ann's going to like this," McIntyre said, choking up. "I said a prayer to St. Anthony yesterday. It worked, so thanks to my little girl, who told me to say it.”
McIntyre discovered the boat had been stolen just before dawn last Friday. He told WWL-TV in New Orleans that it was a loss he couldn’t afford.
"At first, I didn't know what to do," McIntyre said Monday. "What do you do? Where do you go? Like I wanted to be in 10 places at one time.”
The man searched day and night for a week until an empty warehouse just a few miles from his home caught his eye.
"The last mile to my house, I gave up, thinking I would never see my boat again,” he explained. “And I stopped one place, and that's where it was. Unbelievable.”
He said he was just as shocked to find the boat as when he realized it was gone. Concerned neighbors said they were relieved at the discovery.
"It's a big deal," said neighbor Gary Moore. "You don't like anybody's stuff being messed with. To see him get it back? Oh it's wonderful.”
In an effort to track down the culprits behind the theft, McIntyre had NOPD detectives dust for fingerprints after he spotted one on a window at his house. WWL-TV says the outpouring of support from social media was immediate when they posted the story earlier this week. McIntyre said the sympathy brought a tear to his eye.
"Everybody that helped sharing everything, thank you. Meant a lot," he said.
While the boat did eventually return home, WWL-TV reported the vessel was stripped of its motors, generator and anything else the thieves could take that was of value. Paul says he can replace that though and get back to harvesting oysters.
“I’ll be back,” McIntyre stated.
While Paul said he previously didn’t have an insurance policy before the theft, he says that will now be a priority.