Sure sounds suspicious centexhunter. A free floating jug with a swivel shouldn't be able to get twisted allowing a trotline clip to unhook unless it got hung on something, but still unlikely at that. Sounds like they didn't want to take the proof of your ownership with 'em.
I never leave my noodles un-attended. Thieves are everywhere especially on lakes.
I carry binoculars in my boat to watch my jugs from afar and I have my CHL just in case there is any altercation from anybody I catch messing with my stuff. I'm too old to fight.
Man if I get in an altercation with someone over catfish, they can have it. I'm not pulling steel unless me or my family are in danger. I hear what you're saying but would hope all of us here would flee vs. shoot if possible. Tight lines.