A stolen yacht washed ashore in California on Monday, leading to the arrest of three individuals on board, according to authorities.
Two males and one female, suspected of stealing the yacht, were stuck inside when it became trapped in shallow waters near Pacifica State Beach in Sausalito. Initially refusing rescue, the alleged thieves were eventually brought ashore and taken into police custody.
According to The Associated Press, the 82-foot vessel known as Darling was taken from Sausalito Yacht Harbor at approximately 1:30 am on Monday.
When the stolen yacht washed ashore several hours later, witnesses notified local authorities.
Police engaged in brief contact with the individuals on board the yacht, becoming suspicious as rescue efforts were continually declined.
When local news stations began broadcasting images of the Darling, the yacht’s owner recognized the vessel and reported it stolen.
Sausalito Police Sergeant Bill Fraass spoke about the rarity of such an event:
“We do have thefts of vessels throughout the area, but the theft of a vessel of this size is uncommon.”
A stand-off ensued as the stolen yacht was surrounded by Coast Guard officials and armed police officers. The suspects were reportedly seen talking on cell phones and smoking cigarettes, refusing to disembark for several hours.
The Marin Independent Ledger writes that several curious onlookers gathered to watch as police used bullhorns to communicate orders to the group on board. Tourists were seen snapping photos, and families huddled together to watch the spectacle unfold.
You can watch part of the stand-off between police and the suspects in the news report below:
After several hours of stubborn refusal, the suspects surrendered and were escorted ashore. They were immediately taken into police custody.
Pacifica Police Captain Joe Spanheimer confirmed the identities of 63-year-old Leslie Gardner, 56-year-old Lisa Modawell, and 54-year-old Dario Mira. The trio was booked into the San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of grand theft and conspiracy.
Authorities have not commented on a possible motive behind the theft. Rescue lifeguards who assisted in detaining the suspects report that the inside of the stolen yacht was strewn with numerous empty beer containers and pizza boxes.
Tim Fellars, a ranger and lifeguard with California State Parks, spoke about the condition of the interior after the boat suffered repeated battering by waves as high five feet:
“Yeah, it was a bit of a party. Everything got knocked off the shelves.”
Sausalito authorities are reportedly continuing their investigation into the theft and how the stolen yacht washed ashore.