Vancouver Island police recover stolen yacht, suspect claims to have COVID-19

Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties of the Oak Bay Police speaks to media regarding a stolen yacht from Oak Bay Marina on Monday, April 13. The suspect claimed to be infected with COVID-19, carried a knife, and was unwilling to cooperate. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
The Son Seeker IV, a 54-foot yacht, which was stolen and recovered from Oak Bay Marina on Monday, April 13. The suspect claimed to be infected with COVID-19, carried a knife, and was unwilling to cooperate. His joy ride ended just a few hundred meters south. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
The Son Seeker IV, a 54-foot yacht, which was stolen and recovered from Oak Bay Marina on Monday, April 13. The suspect claimed to be infected with COVID-19, carried a knife, and was unwilling to cooperate. His joy ride ended just a few hundred meters south. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
With the help of the Coast Guard, Oak Bay police officers boarded a stolen yacht on Monday morning and arrested a 25-year-old male suspect who claimed he had COVID-19. (Oak Bay Police/Twitter) With the help of the Coast Guard, Oak Bay Police officers boarded a stolen yacht on Monday morning and arrested a 25-year-old male suspect who claimed he had COVID-19. (Oak Bay Police Twitter)

Oak Bay police officers caught a prolific offender they believe stole a 54-foot yacht from Oak Bay Marina on Monday morning.

A witness in the marina thought it unusual that a boat which is for sale would be started at 3:30 a.m., so they called the police.

Staff at Oak Bay Beach Hotel soon spotted the boat offshore.

“We notified Coast Guard and got a ride to [the boat],” said Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay Police monitoring known offender in Caddy Bay

Oak Bay police officers were heavily armed upon boarding the boat and arrested a 25-year-old male suspect who is known to police.

“Our members boarded the boat, armed while doing so, and found a male in the boat who had a knife in his possession with him,” Bernoties said.

While there is an ongoing problem of marine theft in Oak Bay and Cadboro Bay, Bernoties has not seen a theft of such a large, valuable boat.

The yacht is called the Son Seeker IV, a 2002 Sea Ray, and is listed for $449,000.

Its keys were left inside and it was parked in the immediate slip upon entering the marina.

Video evidence from Brnkl boat and security monitoring, who have a floating office just 10 metres away, captures a man paddling into the marina on a canoe. Footage shows that upon leaving, the man crashed the boat into the dock at least once and appeared to be stuck possibly twice before finally exiting.

“When the male was arrested he made claims he had COVID-19, which was a concern to our members so our members were (for the most part) masked, and masked the [suspect]. [He] remained uncooperative, banging his head against the shield in the police car,” Bernoties said. “We appealed to his good nature and tried to explain this is a very serious allegation.”

The coast guard towed the yacht back to the marina with police on board as a measure of safe-distancing from the suspect. The suspect was cleared by the hospital of COVID-19 testing and released to police custody, Bernoties said, though it is unknown if he has COVID-19.

READ ALSO: Early morning fire engulfs boat in Oak Bay Marina

Police say the suspect has an extensive criminal history and they plan to recommend charges which may include theft over $5,000, possession of stolen property of $5000, breach of conditions (as he is not to possess a knife), and mischief over $5,000 (for damage caused to the yacht when boarding).

A neighbouring boater believes the owner is in Toronto.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon Vipers announce exhibition schedule

Snakes to play 12 games prior to December against Salmon Arm, West Kelowna and Penticton

Vernon’s Tolko Industries backs Orange Shirt Day contest

Art contest is open to kids from kindergarten to Grade 12

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Smoky skies clearing throughout B.C. Interior

Environment Canada expects “widespread” improvement for all affected areas by Sunday

Temporary four-way stop added to Vernon intersection

Change at 43rd Ave. and 20th St. is designed to curb increased traffic during construction periods

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

Former Kelowna cop faces fourth lawsuit alleging sexual assault

Ex-Mountie Brian Mathew Burkett is also separately facing seven charges of breach of trust

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Reward offered for return of Okanagan puppy

An 11-week-old boxer-mastiff cross pup was allegedly taken from its Kelowna Friday, Sept. 18

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Most Read