Some time between the 2nd and 4th of October 2000 a HR 31 was stolen on the Swedish West Coast. Until summer 2002 there was no trace of the boat anywhere, but a Hallberg-Rassy is always unique in one way or the other. You can’t hide a boat like this for ever. There are many committed and well-informed Hallberg-Rassy ambassadors around the world and sooner or later stolen HR yachts will reappear.
In the summer of 2002 it was just one of these committed HR owner’s observations that led to the vital breakthrough. Let us call this man ”Mr A”
Mr A was himself a former Hallberg-Rassy 31 owner and had heard that one had been stolen, he also knew that this particular boat was equipped with wheel steering that was fitted after wards. On the HR 31s where the wheel is fitted at build, the backstay is designed differently, it has a crowfoot (Y shaped) to make more room for the helms-man. He could see this was not the case on the backstay. There were a few other things that made the yard and the insurance company a little more interested in Mr A´s tips.
There was a build number on the boat in question. The owner of this suspected boat, let us call him ”person B”, said in conversation that the boat was bought from a man in the South of Sweden.
The thing was that the build number he gave was not for a boat sold in Sweden but for a boat sold in Germany. The German owner had already sold his boat and had ordered a new HR. He could provide the name of the new owner who kept his boat in the Mediterranean. The boat had no wheel steering and the owner had just been out sailing with the boat and was sure it was not stolen. So the suspicion of B not playing with all his cards on the table was getting strong-er. Also the serial number of the boat had been changed in a remarkably clumsy way. Person B was not aware he had been arrested in his absence for boat theft. When B, at the end of August, arrived in Lofthammar and the boat, for a couple of relaxing days at sea he found the boat on land, clamped and cordoned with police blue and white striped tape. He contacted the police wondering what was going on. Person B, a 60 year old man from eastern Sweden was then taken into custody.
B was suspected of several boat thefts. Besides the Hallberg-Rassy 31 worth 120 000 Euros, a smaller motorboat worth 11 000 Euros had been stolen in 1998. Another motorboat worth 35 000 Euros had been stolen in 1999. Both these boats could be tied to Person B and were found at two different lakes in Sweden and had been frequently used by B himself during the summers. In October 2002 B was sent to prison for 2.5 years. The city court couldn’t however, establish that B himself had stolen the Hallberg-Rassy 31, so on that point they chose to find him guilty of receiving stolen goods which is looked upon as a serious crime. It was proven he had stolen the other two boats. He was found guilty of theft and severe theft. He was also convicted of unlawful threat and fraud. The fraud was regarding insurances. The case had only two days to go before it was due to be statute-barred! In 1997 Person B had claimed 8 000 Euros from an insurance company after arranging a burglary from his own garage. The period of limitation for a crime like this is 5 years. Person B had also stolen a valuable terrain mower and a boat trailer to enable him to transport the stolen motorboats.
A Hallberg-Rassy owner can feel safe in the knowledge that stolen HR boats sooner or later are found and therefore are less desirable to boat thieves. It is also very difficult to sell a stolen HR boat since you tend to be revealed wherever you are. To anyone fond of Hallberg-Rassy boats it is probably nice to know that the Hallberg-Rassy 31 mentioned above, like other Hallberg-Rassy boats that have been stolen, was in an immaculate condition. A Hallberg-Rassy boat is well-kept even by a thief!