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post #18 of Old 03-04-2013
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Re: Run-aground sailboat was stolen

(03-04) 14:13 PST PACIFICA -- Two men and a woman packed pizza and beer aboard a luxury sailboat in a Sausalito marina, stole it in the middle of the night and made it as far as Pacifica before the vessel ran aground 20 yards off a beach Monday, authorities said.
The three then spent hours being tossed about in the waves in the 82-foot Darling as authorities, alerted to the theft by a man who recognized his boat on the TV news, waited with guns drawn on the beach.
The three suspects, showing signs of queasiness, were pulled off the boat onto jet-skis by San Mateo County sheriff's deputies about noon and transferred to the custody of Pacifica police on Linda Mar Beach.
All three were arrested on suspicion of possession of a stolen boat, said Pacifica police Capt. Joe Spanheimer. They were not immediately identified.
When they boarded the Darling, authorities found cases of beer, pale ale and a pizza box, said Jeff Wadkins, a state parks lifeguard and park ranger who was one of those to scour the vessel. "There looks like there was quite a bit of alcohol drinking onboard," he said.
The contents of the boat were in disarray, including knocked-over shelves, apparently because of the rough surf, Wadkins said, and the three suspects showed signs of seasickness.
One of the men limped, apparently because he uses a prosthetic leg.
The focus will now turn to trying to remove the boat before it breaks apart, said Eric Laughlin, spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. There were no immediate signs of any oil spill, Laughlin said.
"Right now, the boat seems to be staying together, which is good news," Laughlin said.
Rescue crews headed to the beach before dawn as the first hint of daylight revealed the Darling, stuck in the shallows.
Before authorities realized the boat had been stolen, a Coast Guard swimmer was lowered from a helicopter and delivered a radio to the people onboard.
The vessel's owner was watching news coverage of the incident, took a hard look at the boat bobbing in the waves and realized it was his, said Sausalito police Sgt. Bill Fraass.
"He had the TV on when he realized that his boat had been taken and called us," Fraass said.
The owner, John Fruth, was in a parking lot on the Pacifica beach when the suspects were taken off his boat. He declined to comment.
The boat, built by English builders Oyster Marine, has sailed around the world, according to an online description. Police believe the boat was stolen from the Sausalito Yacht Harbor sometime around 1 a.m. Monday.
The three people onboard initially refused the Coast Guard's assistance, said Petty Officer Tom McKenzie, a Coast Guard spokesman. Once they discovered the boat had been stolen, Pacifica police officers joined the Coast Guard and local fire department on the beach.
Officers stood on shore with their guns drawn a little before 11 a.m. and used a megaphone on a police SUV to order those onboard to leave the boat's cabin and step onto the deck. The three were taken off the boat an hour later.

San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Henry K. Lee contributed to this report.
Will Kane and Vivian Ho are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. E-mail:, Twitter: @WillKane, @VivianHo

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Last edited by Fstbttms; 03-04-2013 at 06:05 PM.
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