How brazen can thieves be? Last night. Pair of pirates tried to steal a Coast Guard vessel, from right under the guardsmen's noses!

It happened near the Belcan bridge in Belize city - when the coast guard were working with police in that area. They were taking shelter from the rain in a substation - when a pair of pirates started swimming away with their 18 foot coast guard vessel.

The Coast Guard Operations Officer told us more:

Lt. Kendrick Thomas, Operations Officer - BNCG
"At about 4:10 whilst doing their regular checks at the regular intervals they notice that their vessel was no longer there. Immediately after compliments from this patrol then conduct a comb of the area and notice one male person inside the water towing away the coast guard vessel towards Save-U. The patrol compliment then made their way over towards Save-U for an intercept and when arrive at that area they notice a second person inside a vessel at the center of the river awaiting the arrival of this first person. That person onboard that vessel opened fire at the coast guard patrol. In a response, the coast guard then took cover and return fire. During the cross fire no one was injured. Immediately after the situation, the person in this vessel then fled the area and went upstream and that person that was still in the water at the time release the coast guard vessel and then surrendered. The vessel was later recovered by members of coast guard and this person was detained and handed over to the police."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"I am stunned that they would try and steal the vessel from right under the coast guard's nose. When you heard of it were you surprised at the audacity of it?"

Lt. Kendrick Thomas, Operations Officer - BNCG
"I wasn't really surprised, because of good information and good working relationship that we have through our intelligence department. We knew that the coast guard was being watched inside this area. However, we remained alert. It was just because of the rain in the area during that night that caused the officers to be inside the booth and conduct checks at a regular intervals. But again we were alert. If we wasn't that vessel would have been stolen."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"There could have been loss of life on either side."

Lt. Kendrick Thomas, Operations Officer - BNCG
"There could have been loss of life indeed, but what we want to reassure the citizenry of this country is that the coast guard will continue to maintain our operations posture inside the Haulover Creek and also in the Belize City harbor."

The man who was caught - is well known to police - and remains detained tonight pending charges.

He is from Aloevera Street which is not too far away from where the boat was parked.

Channel 7