MARIETTA, Ga. -- The Cooley family of Marietta had been looking forward to this summer more than any in recent years.
It was the first one where their middle son Chase could feel more like a kid again. He'd been fighting a treatable form of Leukemia for several years, and things were finally looking up.
"For the first time in three years he was going to be able to really get out there and compete with the older brother, you know how that is," Chase's father Mark Cooley said.
But when Cooley went to drop his boat off last week for routine maintenance before their Memorial Day boating trip, he parked it outside a Buford dealership's fence. He'd grown up along Lake Lanier, and had never had any problem with people stealing things. He said he should have listened to his wife.
"If I had listened to her I would have done it on a different day when the dealership was open and I could have locked it up," Cooley said.
It was left alone the whole night, until 7:30 the next morning. Grainy surveillance video taken from a distance shows a black truck with a tool kit in the bed driving back and forth past the dealership. The driver then backs the truck up to the boat and gets out several times before hooking it up to his hitch. He then drives off.
The Cooleys have vowed not to let the thief ruin their weekend. They're planning to rent another boat and go on with their weekend with one eye peeled, looking for their family boat with so many memories.
"You wish he would just realize in his mind he made a bad decision, and just go drop it off," Cooley said.
If you'd like to keep an eye out for the boat yourself, it's a Tige with a 22i decal on the back, which the family says is rare.