PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Beachgoers crowd Ponte Vedra Beach now, many unaware of the World War II German spies who landed here 70 years ago.
"No one spotted them," said Taryn Rodriguez-Boedee of the Beaches Historical Society.
She said in June 1942, a German submarine closed in on Ponte Vedra and four German spies came to shore.
"They sunbathed. Went swimming. They were in the swimming trunks," Rodriguez-Boedee said.
They buried boxes full of explosives on the beach planning to come back for them.
Shortly after landing in Ponte Vedra Beach, the four spies walk here to Jacksonville Beach and don't really see anyone. They go to a grocery store, Landrum store, and check about bus schedules, and then take a bus to Jacksonville and then to new York.
"They were going to disperse throughout the nation and blow out water plants and electric plants," Rodriguez-Bodee said. "Disrupt civilian life in the U.S."
The four met up four other German spies who landed in New York.
But two of them had second thoughts and went to the FBI, revealing the entire espionage operation.
The FBI went to Ponte Vedra and dug up the explosives buried on the beach. After a trial, the two who exposed the plan were eventually sent back to Germany the others, including the four who landed in Ponte Vedra, were executed.
A World War II spy tale that happened here on the First Coast.
"They landed in June. By mid-August they were dead," Rodriguez-Bodee said. "No one could have made this story up."
First Coast News