After Irma destroyed his boat, Lowcountry man says looters stole all his belongings off it


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.

Strong winds and storm surge broke the lines causing Sean Van Buren’s boat to barrel towards the Connector.

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

Van Buren says the boat was tied up on Goat Island when it broke free Sept. 11. He called the 38 foot, 1980 cabin cruiser home.

“Everything I owned was on that boat,” Van Buren says.

The next day he went back to try recovering his things he had on board, only to discover the boat ransacked, and all his belongings stolen.

“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 around 8, 9 in the morning and took everything that was available,” Van Buren says.

He says it was like 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.

Van Buren has been working to bring the looters to justice. He says someone caught them in the act, and even took a video and posted it to social media, but now the video has been taken down..

“I think somebody recognized one of the kids and took it 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 the rest of their lives, be marked like that,” Van Buren says.

Now, Van Buren says, he's trying to keep his spirit afloat. The community is helping with that, he says.

“Something that tragic, and I’m just through the process meeting more and more great people and it feels good,” Van Buren says. “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.”

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.

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