Sea Ray Boats employees’ vehicles were the target of vandalism that resulted in tire damage to some 50 vehicles last week.
Sometime between 2 and 4 a.m. on Oct. 6, one or more individual spread a large number of roofing nails along the south lane of Sea Ray Drive. A Flagler County Sheriff’s report states that the stretch of road had been “blanketed with roofing nails,” starting from the intersection at Roberts Road and Sea Ray Drive and stopping immediately before the road offers a line of sight to the guard house at the entrance to the manufacturer’s plant. (The Sea Ray plant spreads just east of Colbert Lane in Palm Coast.)
“There was no trail of nails continuing towards the Sea Ray facility,” the report states, “which makes it appear that the roofing nails were intentionally placed in that specific spot, so that all the employees would potentially run over the nails on their way into work and so that the guard house (staffed 24/7) could not see that the nails had been placed on the roadway.”
Sea Ray Group Human Resources Director Kellie Hood told the sheriff’s office that workers started reporting damage to their vehicles’ tires during their lunch break. “As more employees checked their vehicle’s tires, more employees found that their tires had been damaged by roofing nails as well,” the police report states.
Employees who left the plant at 2 a.m. did not report any damage to their tires. Those who reported to work after 4 a.m. did. They did not see any debris on the road because of darkness. No one is scheduled to leave or arrive at the plant between 2 and 4 a.m., which suggests that the individual(s) who committed the criminal mischief are familiar with the plant’s operations.
Sea Ray officials told the sheriff’s office that the kind of nails spread on the road are not are not used or kept in stock anywhere at their facility.
Sea Ray had been the focus of some controversy earlier this year after proposing to build a 24-acre parking lot south of its facility. The proposal drew significant attention and some opposition from Flagler Beach residents—especially along Lambert Avenue, near the plant—and the city government. Flagler Beach government went as far as challenging county government’s land use change that enabled the parking lot project to go forward, but in late September the city agreed to settle its dispute with the county and with Sea Ray. The project is going ahead.
Despite the at-times heated opposition to the parking lot plan, at no point in the controversy did any of the opponents suggest that they were opposed to Sea Ray’s presence, and most spoke appreciatively of the jobs the company provides. At most, opponents were concerned with Sea Ray’s emissions of certain pollutants. Brunswick Corp-owned Sea Ray employs some 650 people. It is—with Florida Hospital Flagler and Palm Coast Data—among the three largest private-sector employers in the county.
There were no witnesses to the incident and no surveillance cameras along the affected stretch of road. The sheriff’s report includes one entirely redacted paragraph and the name of an individual that detectives were attempting to make contact with, suggesting that investigators were not without some leads.
The incident “is part of an ongoing investigation,” Brunswick spokesperson Dan Kubera said this morning in an email. “We are cooperating in that investigation. Several of our team members were impacted by the incident, and we tried to assist them at the time. Fortunately, there were no injuries of which we are aware that were a result of this incident.”