WPD: Scuba instructor catches thieves trying to sell his student’s gear

WICHITA, Kansas – It was a scuba lesson like no other. Marc German was finishing up his last training session when he got a call from one of his students visiting from Idaho, who said his scuba gear had been stolen.

“Someone had cut the straps and netting and stole his scuba gear and quite a bit of other stuff off the back of his trailer,” said German.

The thieves got away with more than $10,000 worth of his belongings so the student filed a police report and still came to class.

“While he was doing his finals and taking his test, we got a phone call at the shop.”

It was an unexpected sales offer.

The voice on the other end told German, “Hey, I have one of those harness things that you know those divers wear as well as a hose with the adapter so that you can breathe out of it.”

That was German’s first clue that this person had no idea what they were talking about.

“So, he’s telling me different brands and different things, and he said, ‘I have two blue tubs full of stuff.’ I recognized right away that it was John Paul’s stuff because I had dived with the guy for two weeks. So, I said, ‘Yea, bring it in, let’s take a look at it.”

German immediately alerted Wichita police who hid nearby.

An hour later, Wichita police say 36-year-old Chad Nichols and 29-year-old Matthew Ramagli walked into the shop with the stolen equipment.

Police arrested them on the spot.

“They weren’t very surprised. They were upset, but they didn’t act all that surprised,” said German. “I just can’t believe anybody would be dumb enough to steal gear scuba gear and then take it to the only scuba shop in the immediate area and try to sell it.”

Wichita police are still working to find all the stolen goods. The case has been turned over to district attorney’s office.

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