The ex-personal assistant for veteran Major League Baseball pitcher Bronson Arroyo stole the player’s boat from a Tampa yacht club, then sold it for a mere $22,000, authorities said Tuesday.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Anthony Acosta, 38, on charges of grand theft and forgery.
The theft unfolded like this, according to an arrest warrant:
Arroyo, a Florida native who lives in Tampa, bought the 30-foot Concept Boat in 2006 for $167,000. He hired Acosta to maintain the vessel while he was away playing baseball. The arrangement lasted several years.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Then, in 2012, Arroyo fired Acosta, giving him a “generous severance package” and telling him “not to contact” the pitcher anymore, the warrant said. The reason: Acosta had a prescription drug problem and was “making mistakes” in his role as the pitcher’s personal assistant.
But Acosta did call Arroyo, in 2013, to tell him that he had noticed that the boat had sunk at Tampa’s Westshore Yacht Club, where it was docked. Acosta lied by saying the boat had been salvaged and was transported to a boat yard, where it would need “several thousand” dollars of repairs. Acosta tried to get money from the pitcher, but Arroyo refused, according to a warrant by FDLE agent Charles Bufalino.
Soon, Acosta took off with the boat, transporting it to the Concept Boats yard in Opa-locka. He then sold the vessel, missing two engines, to the father of the yard’s owner for $22,000, providing a phony bill of sale complete with a forged signature from Arroyo — who knew nothing of the sale and was playing in Cincinnati at the time.
But when the new owner, Manuel Avila, learned that the yacht had a $100,000 lien on it, he demanded his money back from Acosta, who blew him off. He then called Arroyo, who was shocked to learn of the sale (he later paid off the lien).
Arroyo then reported the scam to police. Acosta, of Tampa, will be prosecuted in Miami-Dade County by the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor. Arroyo, 38, is signed to the Los Angeles Dodgers but did not pitch this season as he recovers from elbow surgery.