Oak Bay police officers caught a prolific offender they believe stole a 54-foot yacht from Oak Bay Marina on Monday morning.
A witness in the marina thought it unusual that a boat which is for sale would be started at 3:30 a.m., so they called the police.
Staff at Oak Bay Beach Hotel soon spotted the boat offshore.
“We notified Coast Guard and got a ride to [the boat],” said Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties.
At 3:30am, a 25 yr old prolific offender stole a 54 ft yacht from #OakBay. We notified Coast Guard
& got a ride to it. We boarded & arrested male. He had knife in bed. He was uncooperative. He claimed to have #Covid_19. He is at hospital due to his Covid claim. Then to jail.👍 pic.twitter.com/XPYRVPP3uH
— Oak Bay Police (@OakBayPolice) April 13, 2020
Oak Bay police officers were heavily armed upon boarding the boat and arrested a 25-year-old male suspect who is known to police.
“Our members boarded the boat, armed while doing so, and found a male in the boat who had a knife in his possession with him,” Bernoties said.
But wait there’s more. @brnklio marine security has footage of the dude paddling into the marina and then stealing the tallest boat of the ships there. https://t.co/23dtv3Suk1 pic.twitter.com/7QE5ljTeGd
— Travis Paterson (@TravisAPaterson) April 13, 2020
While there is an ongoing problem of marine theft in Oak Bay and Cadboro Bay, Bernoties has not seen a theft of such a large, valuable boat.
The yacht is called the Son Seeker IV, a 2002 Sea Ray, and is listed for $449,000.
Its keys were left inside and it was parked in the immediate slip upon entering the marina.
Video evidence from Brnkl boat and security monitoring, who have a floating office just 10 metres away, captures a man paddling into the marina on a canoe. Footage shows that upon leaving, the man crashed the boat into the dock at least once and appeared to be stuck possibly twice before finally exiting.
“When the male was arrested he made claims he had COVID-19, which was a concern to our members so our members were (for the most part) masked, and masked the [suspect]. [He] remained uncooperative, banging his head against the shield in the police car,” Bernoties said. “We appealed to his good nature and tried to explain this is a very serious allegation.”
The coast guard towed the yacht back to the marina with police on board as a measure of safe-distancing from the suspect. The suspect was cleared by the hospital of COVID-19 testing and released to police custody, Bernoties said, though it is unknown if he has COVID-19.
Police say the suspect has an extensive criminal history and they plan to recommend charges which may include theft over $5,000, possession of stolen property of $5000, breach of conditions (as he is not to possess a knife), and mischief over $5,000 (for damage caused to the yacht when boarding).
A neighbouring boater believes the owner is in Toronto.