|FYI — August 2005|
|By Brad Dunn|
Bump in the Night
In May a pair of not-too-bright bandits first stole a boat while the owners were below, then got confused and ran the cruiser aground, and finally tried to make a getaway by foot on the shoal they hit.
Police say Sean Huff, 18, and John Camerlengo, 19, broke into a 36-foot Sea Ray at Pirate’s Cove Marina in Palm City, Florida, fired up the engines, and motored off while the owners, Michael and Katherine Jones, slept. When Michael awoke, the boat was cruising at 20 mph; he fumbled in the dark for his cellphone and called 911. “I’m a captive on my boat,” he told emergency operators. “It’s an act of piracy.”
As the long-time boater and his wife barricaded themselves below deck, they gave police specific information about the boat and her captors. While doing so he felt the boat run aground and then used his GPS to give police his location. Police instantly dispatched patrol boats and a helicopter.
The teens made a run for it but were caught running through nearby Sewall’s Point. They were arrested and charged with kidnapping, grand theft, and burglary; both had extensive criminal records. “The boatjackers claimed they had been swimming and drinking when the tide carried them too far to walk back,” says Martin County sheriffs department’s Jenell Atlas. “They said they just wanted to borrow the boat to get back and had no idea there were people onboard.”
For his part, Jones was just as angry about his abduction as he was about the damage to his boat. “We just couldn’t believe what was happening,” he recalls. “When he ran aground, moron that he is, he left it in gear,” Jones said, adding that besides having to endure the indignity of a stolen boat, he discovered that the propeller and hull were seriously damaged. “These guys give criminals a bad name.”
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This article originally appeared in the August 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.