Arson destroys boat on Lake Harriet

A group of teens reportedly set fire to a boat early Aug. 9 on Lake Harriet, laughing about the crime as they rode away on bicycles.

A caller reported the incident just before 6 a.m., according to a statement from the Minneapolis Police Department. Three 14-year-old boys were seen in the area – two were swimming to shore from the burning boat, the third was waiting on shore. They fled southbound on the parkway. 

The Minneapolis Fire Department dispatched four rigs to the lake and spotted the boat about 30 yards from shore, its cabin and bow engulfed in flames. Firefighters launched their own boat and extinguished much of the fire from the lake, but towed the burnt vessel in to finish the job. 

The destroyed boat was a 23-foot "True Companion" single-mast sailboat. Damage was estimated at $20,000.

Life jackets, fire extinguishers, coolers and other items from the boat and two others were found in the water.

Police are offering a $2,500 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the crime. Anyone with information should call Sgt. Sean McKenna of the Minneapolis Arson Squad at 673-3389 or the arson hotline at 1-800-723-2020.