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Burglar Out on Triple Play

George Wright is no smooth criminal.

The 41-year-old crook allegedly crept into the city marina in St. Petersburg, Florida, earlier this summer hoping to score loot from unlocked boats. But according to police, Wright went wrong—three times in a row.

First, he set his sights on a 30-footer with an open hatch. The burglar slid in carefully at about 3 a.m., only to discover a pair of sleeping boaters. Lea Obermeyer and Gary Wall woke instantly and began yelling at him. Wright claimed a misunderstanding and said someone named Jimmy sent him to check on the boat.

“You have the wrong boat,” Wall replied, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Wright left the vessel in search of another target. Highly suspicious, Obermeyer called police while Wall went out and trailed him.

Next, the burglar boarded a different boat, where he met another sleeping owner. Thomas Reilly snapped awake and took the intrusion even more seriously. He pulled a gun on the culprit, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Wright left as quickly as he came and then found an unoccupied boat.

“You’d think after the first two strikes he would have given up and not tried to break into that third boat,” police spokesman Mike Puetz said.

When police arrived, several angry boaters had surrounded the boat and were yelling at Wright. Two officers went onboard to arrest him, but he was not ready to give up. “They were about to handcuff him when all of a sudden he went over the side,” Obermeyer said, according to Tampa Bay Online.

The crowd watched him swim off into the bay. The marine unit sent a boat to pick him up, but he refused. Finally, after 20 minutes, he tuckered out and swam back under gunpoint.

Wright was charged with three counts of burglary and one count of resisting arrest. At press time, he was being held in jail in lieu of $30,150 bail.