Stolen Yacht Washes Ashore in California, 3 Arrested

Tuesday, 05 Mar 2013 10:01 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Shallow water and a low-tide forced a stolen 82-foot yacht to wash ashore on a Northern California beach Monday where police arrested three occupants who allegedly stole the boat.

The owner of the large sailboat, called "Darlin," reported his boat missing. Four- to 5-foot waves pushed the ship to shore, authorities reported, according to KGO-TV in San Francisco.

After police approached the boat in the early morning on Monday a standoff ensued for hours. Authorities could not get to the boat, so they instructed the three occupants to leave the vessel, dispatching a rescue boat to the ship.

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However, the three suspects refused the orders, opting to smoke cigarettes and talk on their cell phones while authorities circled the vessel and bystanders gathered to watch the "bizarre" event, NBC affiliate KCRA reported.

Police officers stood in a nearby boat, one with an assault rifle and another with a blow horn, until the three individuals surrendered at noon.

Authorities said the cabin was filled with empty pizza boxes and about a dozen empty beer bottles, the Marin Independent Journal reports.

"Yeah, it was a bit of a party," said Tim Fellars, a ranger and lifeguard with California State Parks.

Police Sgt. Bill Fraass explained how the joy-riding trio gained access to the boat.

"They somehow got in there and took the boat. The boat has sails so it can be moved," he said. "We do have thefts of vessels throughout the area, but the theft of a vessel of this size is uncommon."

The suspects, Leslie Gardner, 63, Lisa Modawell, 56, and Dario Mira, 54, were jailed at San Mateo County Jail, on suspicion of grand theft and conspiracy.

The yacht, which can accommodate up to 10 people, is valued at several million dollars. It was built by Oyster Marine in England and has sailed around the world.

The boat's owner, who was not identified, did not know the trio, according to reports.

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Despite being pounded by a rough surf for hours, the yacht's 850-gallon fuel tanks did not leak, police said.

Related stories:

Late Steve Jobs’ Dream Yacht Impounded for Money Due

Sen. Kerry to Pay Mass. Tax On Yacht Docked in RI

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