SAUSALITO (KPIX 5) — A suspected pirate is under arrest in the North Bay.
Sausalito police say 48-year-old Douglass Crandall got on a bright red tugboat and released the ten heavy mooring lines.
He is accused of trying to sneak away in a 350-ton tugboat on Richardson Bay.
Police say a deck scraper is the weapon of a modern day pirate. They say the man broke a window and then tried to steal the 107-foot long tug boat.
“This boat was built in 1955 for the Army,” said Joe Flowers.
But this is no ordinary military surplus tug boat – it’s been meticulously remodeled and is now the part-time home of Jennifer and Joe Flowers.
“We don’t take it away from the dock and we’ve had it for 10 years, so this little adventure, that was it’s big adventure,” Joe Flowers said.
That adventure started early Monday morning.
“You can see how it’s all sawed off. He cut it in the middle,” Joe Flowers said.
Then let the boat drift out into Richardson Bay.
“It could have run into other vessels, it could have run over other vessels. It’s 350 tons of steel and it doesn’t care what it does when it hits something,” Jennifer Flowers said.
“And it was out of control,” said Joe Flowers.
A Sausalito ferryboat captain reported the wayward tug to the U.S. Coast Guard. Petty officers say when they boarded the boat they found Crandall, who couldn’t explain why the boat was loose in the bay.
Crandall was turned over to Sausalito police, and then two Coast Guard boats pushed the stolen tug back to the dock.
Sausalito police Lt. Bill Fraass said, “In my 21 years at the police department, this is the first time anybody’s ever stolen a 107-foot long, 350-ton tugboat. We do have vessel thefts, but for a vessel of this size to be stolen from Sausalito is extremely rare.”
Police say they don’t know why the man tried to steal the boat, but owners say since the boat is for sale, maybe he wanted to keep it for himself.
“It’s got a kind of unique quality that you just cannot get anywhere else, and I guess the guy who broke in kind of felt the same way,” Jennifers Flowers said.
The Flowers say the tug is still for sale for $1.5 million, but pirates aren’t included.