Lowcountry Man’s Boat Damaged by Irma, Looters Take What Was Left

September 19, 2017, 11:31 am EST | Share:

ISLE OF PALMS, SC (LINDSEY MALONEY, WTAT-TV) — A Charleston man’s boat came loose during Tropical Storm Irma, and crashed into the Isle of Palms Connector, destroying many of his belongings. What he had left ended up stolen.

Sean Van Buren watched as strong winds and storm surge broke the lines and his boat floated away, crashing into the Connector last Monday.

“It was horrible, it was rainy and windy, you just see the inside of your boat getting totally wet, everything was getting ruined,” Van Buren says.

Then when he went back the next day to collect all of his stuff, he discovered it was all stolen.

“It was at the marina on the Isle of Palms for about a year. The they sold the slip and I moored out behind Goat Island and waited for another slip to open up,” he explained. “The this happens.”

Van Buren called the 1980 cabin cruiser home. “Everything I owned was on that boat,” he said.

The next day he went back for his precious cargo. “I got there about 11 a.m., and when I got there I noticed that all my fishing poles were gone, all my deep sea poles. Apparently these kids got there before I did around 8, 9 in the morning and took everything that was valuable.” Kicking him while he was down.

“It’s one thing to have your boat tore apart, but to have some kids get on there and steal all your stuff too, that hurts pretty bad,” Van Buren says.

Someone caught them in action, but there was another setback. “There was a video out there but I think somebody recognized one of the kids and took it right down,” Van Buren says.

Van Buren says he doesn’t want to ruin anyone’s life. He’s just trying to get his back on track.

“I don’t know if I want to get police involved or just the parents and try to get my stuff back. I don’t think those kids want to be known as looters for the rest of their lives, get marked like that,” Van Buren says.

His spirit is just trying to stay afloat. “The community’s so nice around the island, everyone is offering a couple weeks here a couple days here to stay until I figure out where I want to live,” he said. “Something that tragic, and just through the process meeting more and more great people and it feels good.”

A GoFundMe page was created to help find Van Buren a place to stay and get him back on his feet, as well as pay for the boat to be removed. To help, please click here.